19 Jul 2012

International army of cleaners at Olympics

4:48 pm on 19 July 2012

A small army of cleaners from all over the world is in London for the Olympic Games, which begin next week. They want to play their part in the Games and earn some money at the same time.

But while athletes and officials are staying in the Olympic Village, the cleaners live in a compound on the site of a former scrap metal merchant with about 100 temporary cabins, each sleeping 10 people in bunk beds.

Many are from Hungary and Spain with others from across Europe. Flags from France, New Zealand, and the United States flutter above the cabins.

For most, the pay offsets any reservations about living conditions.

They are being paid more than £8 per hour, well above Britain's national minimum wage, along with three meals a day and free transport to the venues.

'''It's better paid than in Spain," says a business studies student from that country. ''It's not that easy to find a job with that salary for cleaning.''

However, the rent is £18 per day, or about £550 per month.

But the cleaners don't seem to mind.

"I came here to be a cleaner and live next to the Olympic Park," said a Hungarian student. ''That's enough for me.''