Tuesday 27 March 2018

Britain's deregulated Labour market.

James Bloodworth's book "Hired: six months under cover in low-wage Britain"  is a vivid description, along with some revealing interviews, of his experiences working briefly in an Amazon warehouse, as a care-worker in Blackpool, in an Admiral (insurance company) call centre in Wales and as an Uber driver in London.

 If you want some real  information about the reality of Britain's "lowest unemployment rate for decades" please read this book.

The consequences of "zero hours" contracts, unpredictability of income, late payments,   underpayments, capricious dismissal, hostility to trade unions, electronic surveillance, bullying and squalid accommodation and rip-offs by unscrupulous landlords are all vividly described, with the anecdotal evidence supported by statistical references.

 If you have any decency in you you will never buy anything from Amazon again. Yet paradoxically Amazon  is the first name that comes up when you Google the book.  (The link above is for Waterstones:  I usually buy books from Foyles.  Both are acts of faith as I've no idea whether or not their working conditions are any better).

Bloodworth sees the purpose of his book as to "draw attention to certain issues and perhaps alter the common perceptions of them."  He has "no intention of rounding of this experiment with a long manifesto , or a list of wonkish policy proposals  dictating what must be done." (his emphasis.)

Neither will Brexit produce any solutions

Pity that our politicians are so preoccupied with an issue which is most likely to make working conditions   worse.  This is an academic matter for we comfortably cushioned middle classes, but while we obsess we ignore the system we have created which causes  several millions of our fellows, workers, not skivers, to suffer  real hardship and indignities which  should not be tolerated in a society which claims to be civilised.

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