by James Bloodworth
4th July 2019
at il libro
Hired: six months undercover in low-wage Britain paints a vivid picture of life in some of the toughest corners of the world of work. James Bloodworth, the author, went to work in four of the lowest paid jobs in the British economy. He worked for Amazon in a picking and packing warehouse in Rugeley, took a job as a care worker in Blackpool, moved on to a call-centre for an insurance company in South Wales and then worked as an Uber driver in London.
At every stage one feels the pressure on his time. It’s clear that these works are dominated by immigrants and young people. Immigration and class are now inseparable subjects. The author relates the physical exhaustion and blisters he gets from working in a warehouse where he walked on average 14 miles a day, and – at the other extreme – the sedentary and tedious life of a call centre where taking exercise is totally impractical.
The recruitment agencies that supplied eastern Europeans to Amazon warned their workers that, if they made a fuss about their conditions, there was a reserve army of their fellow countrymen ready to take their place. The point is that no one should have to work in the conditions Bloodworth experienced.
Every reader would have to accept paying more for the goods and services they now receive at bargain rates. The warning at the end of the book is clear: if we do not stop the mistreatment of Uber drivers and Deliveroo riders, one day everyone could wake up to find their employment rights gone.
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