The UK's international aid and development minister Justine Greening has warned that momentum must not be lost in the drive to tackle poor safety and labour conditions for workers in the Bangladesh garment sector.

She was speaking last week as the UK pledged GBP4.8m (US$7.76m) towards the International Labour Organization's (ILO) 'Improving the Working Conditions in the Ready Made Garment sector in Bangladesh' programme, six months after the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Dhaka that killed more than 1,100 people.

The ILO initiative supports the Bangladesh government's National Action Plan on Fire Safety and Structural Integrity, which was signed with garment worker and employer representatives.

The ILO programme will also co-ordinate with separate brand initiatives: the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh and the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety.

"But there is still a long way to go," Greening said. "Everyone needs to continue to work together to maintain momentum and prevent future tragedies."

The ILO action will bring together into one system the building and fire safety inspections of big retailers and those carried out by the Bangladesh government, as well as carry out inspections at 1,500 factories not covered by the brand initiatives already underway.

It is also launching a new 'Better Work' initiative to help improve worker conditions and industrial relations, and will provide occupational health and safety training for workers.

The UK government response is the latest in a series of initiatives to help improve British retailers' supply chains to ensure clothes are produced responsibly.

Support has already been pledged for skills training for 100,000 low-skilled garment and construction workers, to improve overall productivity and help produce higher-value products.

And additional funding to the Trade and Global Value Chains Initiative launched at the beginning of the year will make available GBP1.8m for Bangladesh for partnerships between buyers, factory owners, civil society and others to improve working practices and conditions in the supply chain.