Olympic shame: Meet the Cambodian garment workers paid just £10 a week to make adidas' 2012 Games 'fanwear’


Sportswear giant and Olympic sponsor adidas is facing an investigation after revelations that their official merchandise for the London Games is being made by Cambodian garment workers who are paid just £10 a week in basic wages.

Adidas is believed to have invested £100 million in the Games and is one of the event's largest sponsors. The firm manufactured the official Team GB outfit designed by Stella McCartney.

But the workers at the company's Shen Zhou factory on the outskirts of the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh work up to 10 hours a day, six days a week, the Daily Telegraph reported.

They said they could increase their wages to $120 (£78) by adding an extra two hours' work to their day.

Adidas told the Mail Online today that workers at the factory earned on average $130 a month and would get a pay rise in September, along with other garment industry workers.

A spokeswoman for the campaign group Labour Behind the Label said that although the minimum wage in Cambodia was only $66 a month, the amount they considered to be a living wage for a Cambodian worker with two children was $260. Campaigners said the treatment of the workers amounted to a breach of an agreement with the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (Locog) that states merchandisers must pay workers a sustainable living wage.

A spokesman for Locog told the Telegraph it was concerned by the allegations and would investigate them.

Soun So-phat, a 30-year-old mother of two, said she sent half of her earnings home to her parents, who look after her young daughters in their provincial village.

She said she used to earn a living planting rice but the money she earned was not enough to feed her children, so she left to look for work in the capital. Now she can feed them, but the money that's left over is not enough for her to eat properly. 'It is hard work. I send home $60 per month and I live on $40. I eat three times a day but it's not good food,' she told The Telegraph.

She lives with five other workers in a single room where they sleep three to a bed on hard, wooden bed frames. They share an attached squat toilet and cook a few feet away. Wet clothes hang on lines overhead. 'It is difficult but we have to earn money,' she said.

Toch Srey-noun, 32, who works as a pattern-cutter making adidas garments, said she had no idea how much they cost to buy. In an adidas store it was $39.99 – the amount she earned in two weeks. She sends more than half her earnings - around $50 a month – to her mother. Her father and husband have died and she has a 10-year-old son.

A spokesman for adidas confirmed that the factory in Phnom Penh produced Olympic merchandise but denied that the workers' pay and conditions were in breach of the organising committee's standards. He added that the Shen Zhou factory does not produce any kit for Olympic officials or indeed any athletes.

'Adidas is confident we comply with all Locog standards. Workers at the factory earn an average of $130 a month, which is well above the minimum wage,' he said.

A Locog spokesman told The Telegraph: 'We understand that the Shen Zhou factory is part of the International Labour Organisation labour rights programme, which means that it is inspected. 'We regularly remind all of our licensees of the importance we place on the sustainable sourcing code they have each signed up to.'

Sorn Tola, 22, said that after the minimum wage was increased from $56 to $61 in October 2010, the rent jumped from $25 to $40 a month. Most of the housing blocks that garment workers live in are owned by various factories, so to make up for the wage increase, most factories simply raised the workers' rent.