Sweat-shop labourers paid just £2 a day to churn out £49 England kit
By Simon Parry in Indonesia & Dominic Herbert, 14/06/2009
THE World Cup shirts worn by England's multi-million pound soccer stars and tens of thousands of fans are made by slumdog workers paid just £2 A DAY in a secret sweat-shop in Indonesia.
A News of the World investigation has traced the Football Association's newly-designed official Three Lions tops back to a slave labour factory that makers Umbro-owned by Nike- don't want YOU to know about.
Behind barbed wire fences patrolled by guards, more than 2,000 dirt-poor teenage girls and young mums toil for a sickening 16p AN HOUR, 12 hours a day, making the trendy shirts the FA is selling for £49 A TIME.
One told us: "We all work maximum overtime because the basic salary isn't enough to live on and keep our families. The work is very hard and the pay is not good but jobs are hard to get."
The machinists are watched constantly by patrolling supervisors ordered to fire anyone caught chatting or taking mobile phone pictures of their appalling conditions.
And at the end of their punishing factory shifts working at machines in a boiling hot factory with no air-condititoning they are ferried exhausted in ramshackle coaches back to the shanty towns where they live in squalor. All the workers we spoke to were frightened to talk about their slave labour for fear of losing their jobs. But they were staggered that each jersey sold for what they would have to work a MONTH to earn.
"That's just crazy," gasped one. "How can anyone pay so much for something made by people like us?"
Our findings will shame both the FA and Umbro, who proudly unveiled England's first "bespoke tailored shirts" in March when England played Slovakia at Wembley.
They were worn on Wednesday in the 6-0 Wembley win over Andorra.
Umbro drafted in top designer Aitor Throup and Savile Row tailor Charlie Allen to create the new look inspired by the strip England wore in their 1966 World Cup quarter-final win over Argentina.
The firm brags that each shirt-now sold by chest size-uses a special fabric to regulate body temperature and enhance performance.
Yet its glitzy advertising campaign makes no mention of the run-down PT Tuntex plant in Tangerang, a two-hour drive from Jakarta. Acting on a tip-off, we tracked down the factory where thousands work in sweltering conditions to produce shirts which keep players cool.
Temperatures regularly soar into the high 30s. Supervisors prowl between the desks of machinists in the vast open-plan factory to ensure workers never stop to chat.
Each worker earns a basic 1.05 million rupiah (£62.71) a month, toiling from 8am to 6pm, five days a week.
Many of the women are forced to do overtime just to feed their children, who are left to run wild in the narrow shack-filled lanes of the workers' shanty town that has risen up close to the plant. Desperate not to risk their jobs, workers would only talk to us using false names. Many wear traditional Muslim headscarves as well as their soccer shirt uniforms-red tops for those making Umbro shirts and blue for workers producing tops for Tuntex's other main client Adidas.
Some workers wear masks because of fumes from the production process.
Packing worker Saraswati, 19, said: "The bosses are very strict. I saw a worker sacked on the spot for turning up just a few minutes late.
"We all rent rooms as close to the factory as we can so we can be sure to arrive on time. Otherwise we will lose our jobs and may not find another one."
A 24-year-old seamstress called Agustina said: "We have been making many of the England shirts to send directly to Umbro UK. We are told to work very fast. They must be very popular."
Machinist Lia, 19, added: "I try to send a little money home to my family in the countryside but after paying for rent and food there is hardly any left."
Mum of one Hesti, 24, said: "There is only enough time to eat and then sleep before returning to work at 8am every day. It is a tough life."
They all live in the shanty town where stinking black water runs through open drains between shacks rented out at inflated prices by private landlords. It's a scene far removed from the image Umbro has dreamed up to promote its new England shirt. And the managers of the Taiwanese-owned factory were desperate to try to stop us seeing the real picture. First they ordered guards to stop us taking photographs, then demanded we delete all images of workers.
One of them said: "We are under orders from Umbro not to let anyone like you inside our factory."
An employee claiming to be the staff union rep was sent to talk to us. He asked for the identities of the workers we interviewed. We declined. Union officials in Indonesia later described the workers' pay as just above the country's legal minimum but totally inadequate. Dian Ansar, of the Congress of Indonesian Unions Alliance, said Umbro had a moral obligation to do more for the labourers.
"People in England should be aware of what goes on in this factory," she said, citing a 2002 case where US clothing chain Gap was forced by a customer boycott to improve conditions for workers in Indonesia and elsewhere.
"They should put pressure on Umbro to improve pay for workers. These women don't make enough for their families to live on."
England captain's John Terry's £135,000-a-week salary alone would pay all 2,000 workers at the plant for more than a month. It is the SECOND time we have exposed Umbro over slave labour. Four years ago, they were using lowly-paid workers in China to make the shirts for the 2006 World Cup.
An Umbro spokesman told us: "We are committed to producing the England kit under fair working conditions. "Although Umbro does not own or operate the PT Tuntex factory, we are committed to working with contract factories that make our products to provide a fair working environment.
"Workers at PT Tuntex earn, on average, twice the minimum wage set by the Indonesian government."
An FA spokesman said: "The FA has no involvement whatsoever in the manufacturing process of the England kit.