Moral Low Ground


Cambodian Workers Paid $15/Week to Make Adidas Olympic Apparel

(Photo: Andrew Guan)

Sporting apparel giant Adidas is under fire for paying workers in Cambodia sweatshop-like wages to manufacture official merchandise for the 2012 London Olympics.

Reporters from Britain’s Daily Telegraph found workers in Adidas’ Shen Zhou factory just outside the capital Phnom Penh living in squalid conditions and earning a pittance for their work making official fanware that retails in Western countries for as much as the employees earn in weeks.

Machinists working eight hour shifts six days a week reported earning a base pay of $61 per month. Those who increased their hours to 10 per day said they could make $120 per month.

Adidas responded Friday by claiming the average worker in the Shen Zhou factory made $130 per month and that they would receive raises later in the year.

But Anna McMullen of the campaign group Labour Behind the Label countered that even $130 a month is lower than what is considered a living wage in the impoverished Southeast Asian country.

“The minimum wage in Cambodia is horrendously low– $66 a month,” McMullen told the Daily Telegraph. “But the living wage for a worker with two children is $260.”

Human rights groups charge that Adidas’ treatment of Cambodian factory workers amounts to a breach of an agreement signed with the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG), which stipulates that merchandisers must pay workers a sustainable living wage.

A LOCOG spokesperson promised to investigate the Cambodia situation.

“We regularly remind all of our licensees of the importance we place on the sustainable sourcing code they have each signed up to,” the spokesperson said.

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  1. Richard MilnesAugust 3, 2012 at 5:40 amReply

    Don’t you mean $15 a week in the title?

    • Brett WilkinsAugust 12, 2012 at 12:02 pmReplyAuthor

      Yes, and thank you for the correction.

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