Olympics organizers to probe Adidas ‘exploitation’ claims
London Olympics organisers said on Saturday that they would investigate claims that workers in a Cambodian Adidas factory were being paid just $61 a month to produce official merchandise for the Games.
The investigation came after Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that workers at the sportswear brand’s factory outside Phnom Penh were making “fanwear” six days a week for a basic salary of $61 (50 euros) per month.
Machinists at the Shen Zou factory told the broadsheet that they received an additional $5 allowance for healthcare and could increase their wages to $120 a month by increasing their hours from eight to 10 per day.
Campaigners say this salary would be far below the living wage for a Cambodian worker with a family and, if found to be true, would put Adidas in breach of an agreement with London organisers to pay staff a living wage.
“We have just been made aware of this allegation and are taking it very seriously,” said a spokesman for Games organisers LOCOG.
“We will investigate the situation in collaboration with LOCOG’s independent monitor.
“We regularly remind all of our licencees of the importance we place on the sustainable sourcing code they have each signed up to.”
The spokesman added the factory was believed to be part of an International Labour Organisation rights programme which means that it receives inspections from the ILO or World Bank.
The “fanwear” produced at the factory, including t-shirts and bags, will be bought by thousands of people in stores throughout Britain during the Games, which take place in the British capital between July 27 and August 12.
A spokesman for Adidas told the Telegraph that workers at the factory made an average of $130 a month.
“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.
The German company also said staff at the factory would get a pay rise later this year in line with other textiles workers.
Campaign group Labour Behind the Label said a living wage for a Cambodian worker with two children would be $260 a month.
Adidas is the official sportswear provider for the London Games and has reportedly invested around £100 million ($156 million, 127 million euros) in the event.