❄ [EPUB] ✼ Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain By James Bloodworth ➝ – Replica-watches.co

❄ [EPUB] ✼ Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain By James Bloodworth ➝ – Replica-watches.co

A Compelling And Ground Breaking Piece Of Narrative Journalism That Gets Right To The Heart Of Divided Britain And Its Dysfunctional Jobs ClimateWe All Define Ourselves By Our Profession At Least To Some Extent But What If Our Job Was Demeaning, Poorly Paid, And Tedious Cracking Open Britain S Divisions Immigrant British, North South, Urban Rural, Working Class Middle Class, Leave Remain Journalist James Bloodworth Spends Six Months Living And Working Across Britain, Taking On The Country S Worst Jobs He Lives On The Meagre Proceeds And Discovers The Anxieties And Hopes Of Those He Encounters, Including Working Class British, Young Students Striving To Make Ends Meet, And Eastern European ImmigrantsReminiscent Of Orwell S Road To Wigan Pier, This Is A Fascinating Window Onto A World That Britain S London Centric Media Rarely Visits From The Staffordshire Warehouse To The Taxi Cabs Of Uber, Bloodworth Uncovers Horrifying Employment Practices And Shows How Traditional Working Class Communities Have Been Decimated By The Move To Soulless Service Jobs With No Security, Advancement Or Satisfaction But This Is Than An Expos Of Unscrupulous Employers This Is A Gripping Examination Of Post Brexit Britain, A Divided Nation Which Needs To Understand The True Reality Of How Other People Live And Work, Before It Can Heal


10 thoughts on “Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain

  1. says:

    I pay my cleaner 10 an hour at the same time as I pay my lawyer 570 an hour Is my lawyer worth 57 times what my cleaner is worth It must be to me or I would not pay it That is the free market in action James Bloodworth is aware of these discrepancies He does not like them, but he is not proposing a solution In his well considered book, Bloodworth examines what it is like to be on the bottom rung of the job market by working undercover in such jobs to experience them himself, and also to meet others who carried out those jobs 10 an hour They should be so lucky Many dream of getting a steady 7 an hour in a permanent safe job.From a picker in an warehouse in Staffordshire, to a carer in Blackpool, a call centre operative in an old Welsh mining town, to an Uber driver in London, Bloodworth provides readers with a pair of binoculars with which to experience the life of increasing numbers of people in the so called gig economy Not only do many workers in such jobs receive the minimum pay, they are lucky if they can work enough hours to pay the bills A dreaded zero hours contract from Bloodworth s employer in Blackpool had the following clause There may be times when no work is available for you and the company has no duty to provide you with any work at such times or any payment in respect of such times With no other jobs available, many sign on the dotted line and just hope to be able to pay the rent and bills of one room in a shared house with central heating that does not break down too often.The pecuniary problems that arise from such work are simply not known to many in comfortable, middle class jobs Having to wait a month for a pay check can be terrifying for someone who has to pay their rent weekly Such workers need to be paid weekly, not because as some would have it, that they cannot be trusted to budget for a month, but because they have to pay for rent, food and travel costs Surely anyone working can pay 150 for a cheap television Not necessarily Hundreds of thousands of people use the rent to own sector and end up paying, including all interest and other charges, 400 for such a television by the time they can call it their own They cannot buy the television with a reasonable repayment schedule by putting it on a credit card if their credit applications are turned down. are spending a massive amount of money on robotics Their dream, I suspect, is that when Mrs Smyth clicks on her button to buy toothbrushes from for same day delivery with her Prime account, that a signal will automatically be sent to a robot in the warehouse which shunters over to the correct location picks up the toothbrushes and drops them with another robot that packages the goods We have not yet reached such a level of automation, but have the next best thing an army of contract workers who are given a hand held device that barks orders to them to walk around the warehouse and pick goods When the dream level of automation arrives, the pickers will be laid off At such a time, as they will no longer be using low paid labour for such work, I am not sure if Bloodworth will have a higher or lower opinion of than he currently has I am not even sure he will give much thought to it he will be thinking of the lives of those laid off and how they will be able to pay the rent Hired is an excellent book It does not provide a series of answers but the reader is left understanding the problem If the problem is not understood, a solution cannot be found Bloodworth has done a great job in explaining the problem I wholeheartedly recommend the book.


  2. says:

    The Guardian is publishing a series of anonymous reports from a worker inside an fulfillment center Our new column from inside They treat us as disposable A podcast interview with the author about this work can be found here, at Intelligence Squared.I read this book because I wanted to know what it was like to be an Uber driver and, thanks to this honest and well written account of working in low wage Britain, I got my answer not great, but not so bad and certainly far better than working at an Warehouse A read of this article on how treats injured workers will help explain why.The author worked at four jobs warehouse worker, care worker, insurance call center worker and Uber driver The and care worker jobs seemed much worse than either Uber or the call center I took three reasons for this from the book.Firstly, the use of zero hour contracts to coerce and intimidate staff and Carewatch UK the care worker agency could simply take work away from staff who complained or wanted to join a union, starving them into submission.Secondly, and subtle than zero hour contracts, comes the calculated diffusion and avoidance of responsibility by the ultimate employer, and appallingly if you think about it UK Local Authorities who use agencies to find their staff.These agencies seem truly exploitative They constantly make mistakes which strangely always work in the agencies favor and which I would suspect are really disguised wage theft The agencies also provide legal and reputational cover for and the like who can blame the agencies for anything that goes wrong, wash their hands of any accountability towards staff and keep their corporate image that little bit shinier.Finally and most controversially is the issue of immigrant labor Many of the locals living near the warehouse are not prepared to take jobs there, and good for them The conditions are so bad that most of the jobs are taken by immigrants, which is surely how likes it less chance to be taken to a labor tribunal if the injured person s first home is a few thousand miles away and they don t speak the language.The simple but wrong lesson to take away from this situation is that immigrants are holding down wages for local people It is closer to the truth to say that companies are providing jobs of such low quality and low pay that only people who are extremely poor and easily exploited would ever take them.The call center job is relatively low paid and extremely boring but, compared with , the company s heart at least seems in the right place Uber driver seems to come out as the best, which is not to say that it is good but at least seems to genuinely allow the individual to retain some dignity and flexibility.As the book explains, though, the trick with Uber is that the company encourages and drivers to enter the market which encourages competition to keep the market price down and also ensures a good service for Uber customers These actions both go against the interests of the drivers, who as a result are forced to spend time cruising around empty while at the same time earning less per trip.A second key Uber trick is the blurring of the distinction between being employed and self employment a variation of the avoidance of responsibility concept so loved by large corporations these days Uber gets a pass on employer costs such as paid vacation and it is difficult to hold Uber accountable for the actions of its drivers Uber doesn t employ criminals because we don t employ anyone, but we can t guarantee that criminals won t use our app.One weakness of the Uber model is the relative lack of network effect that companies like Facebook enjoy Uber has to enter each market each city one by one there aren t many people taking a cab from London to Paris or even from London to Birmingham.I wonder if this brings an opportunity for an open source disruption of Uber s business model How satisfying it would be to disrupt the disrupters.If some enterprising programmers could develop an open source alternative to the Uber App then perhaps drivers in a town could use it to start a taxi driver s collective that shared the profits among themselves rather than giving Uber a cut Although the Uber App is good it isn t so advanced compared with other open source programs like Stockfish.Experiments could be run on an Uber replacement open source app TOW U perhaps Taxi drivers of the World, Unite in a localised area to test feasibility and limit the costs of roll out Existing taxi licensing authorities could still license drivers using it.Does anyone else think this is a good idea, or is it only me


  3. says:

    James Bloodworth, an English sometime Trotskyite, has written a book which combines the television series Undercover Boss and George Orwell s Down and Out in Paris and London He took jobs in a variety of low wage, low security occupations to get first hand knowledge about what it is like today to be a member of the largely invisible British working class Bloodworth s resulting argument is that a pernicious marriage of portions of the political Left and Right has destroyed the dignity of the British working class, with fatal consequence for that class, and deleterious consequences for all of society Hired is a powerful book that has key implications for possible political realignment.This is not a typical disposable political book, where the author ends with a list of solutions he knows everyone will ignore It is a book of political philosophy, written from a worm s eye view, because its frame is to ask in what manner, and to what ends, we should be governed Bloodworth focuses on one overarching goal, which is the key theme of the book how we can restore the lost dignity of the working man Not dignity in the modern Left sense, meaning forced universal obeisance to whatever perversion is the flavor the day, but actual dignity, the dignity of men and women but especially men being able to find, and maintain, meaning in their lives, through their work.In 2016, Bloodworth started his job hopping in Rugeley, a small town in the English Midlands very close to Stafford, where I have a cousin, and have spent some time From a distance, Rugeley appears fortunate after years of decline following closure of the local coal mines, exacerbated by the 2008 financial crisis, in 2011 opened a giant fulfillment center on the edge of town These are the backbone of s business huge warehouses where around a thousand people work, picking items from shelves, assembling them in bins, and shipping them to eager consumers Such centers are embodiments of Taylorism, with every action monitored and measured, to the end of enriching Jeff Bezos and other shareholders of the company. was supposed to be Rugeley s savior, helping the town regain prosperity and, as a result, dignity, but it hasn t worked out that way This could have been predicted, given that as always with , the town had to beg to locate there, and offer financial incentives that collectively came out of the townspeople s pockets That bargain might make theoretical sense, perhaps, if the result was good jobs for townspeople But again, as always with , for the most part, townspeople don t work there, or don t any longer, after trying it Most of the workers are from Rumania and other Eastern European countries, many bussed in by from cities like Birmingham The locals, in Bloodworth s telling, feel that these migrants mostly temporary residents of Britain take their jobs, but it seems that locals aren t interested, for the most part, in working under the conditions offers, unless they are desperate The standard neoliberal, and free market conservative, response is that if the townspeople won t take the jobs, their poverty and lack of dignity is their fault and their problem Bloodworth s evisceration of for which the book achieved a measure of fame is meant to show why this is the wrong response.This universal groveling by those in authority to obtain warehouses is a complex phenomenon that deserves further analysis It has come to public attention recently in the shadow play of humiliation that enacted around the United States, when it made the leaders of scores of American cities sit, stay, and roll in order to have a chance at getting treats, in the form not of biscuits, but of having s new second headquarters placed in their cities Surprising nobody who is adequately cynical, it was all a lie, and the fifty thousand promised jobs were instead, as the plan probably was all along, split among America s two major centers of business and political power, New York and Washington This was ideal for it further enmeshed the company with America s real rulers, the lords of finance and the administrative state Why would they have made any other choice However, that widely followed farce was actually different than, and not as offensive as, the events in Rugeley, which are smaller scale and less public, but have been played out thousands of times around the world In short, poor localities, generally those with a work force with few options, are made to pay for the privilege of being offered jobs at warehouses They do not realize, or refuse to see in their desperation, that is like Dame Gothel in the story of Rapunzel, extorting payment from city fathers desperate to help their people, all the while intending to destroy what they love And what is the not so hidden knife Unlike s headquarters jobs, these jobs aren t good jobs They re nothing like the old jobs of the English working class, and they do nothing to restore the social web into which the working class was woven, and on which it relied.How the new jobs are inferior ranges from the most basic no training or skills that improve the lot of the worker to the spiritual constant petty humiliation to the complex total insecurity of the jobs With a deft writing touch, Bloodworth draws what seems an accurate picture of , which also has, like most big corporations today, a weird Stepford Wives vibe Socialist realism has mutated into rosy corporate uplift Feel good slogans were plastered across the interior walls of s warehouse next to photographs of beaming workers whose radiant countenances proclaimed that everyone at work was having a wonderful time We love coming to work and miss it when we re not here declared a life sized cardboard cut out of a woman named Bez So, then, to what social end do these men and women slave at In order that others in society can get cheap consumer goods quickly, served by an invisible army on the fringes I m as guilty as anyone, of course Multiple times each day a van pulls up our long driveway, slowing for the speed bumps I installed to protect the children and passing the No Trespassing sign showing riflescope crosshairs and You Are Here Sometimes it s a painted van other times a U Haul rented hourly by the driver He or she, often an immigrant, Hispanic or African, hustles to the door of my large house and drops a cardboard box with a single book most often or some other consumer good, and then hustles back I m used to it, but, like the internet, we think it s essential, when the reality is we got along fine without it, and maybe we were all better off.Bloodworth draws a disheartening, yet sympathetic, picture of Rugeley, focusing on the breakdown in its social fabric, which, to be fair, began long before Noting the ubiquity of advertisements for private detectives probably the British equivalent of the disgusting amount of plaintiff s lawyers billboards we have in America , he draws a line between commercialized suspicion and atomized consumerism Fidelity and faithfulness have been slowly chipped away by ephemeral, market driven principles promising instant gratification For working class communities this adds yet another layer of impermanence to an already insecure existence, especially for those men whose sense of masculine inadequacy is reinforced by the lack of any purposeful employment Before we get back to , let s unpack this, because it is important to understanding Bloodworth s book, and where it fits into today s political landscape First, the backdrop, the key assumption that drives Bloodworth, is that what the working man needs most of all is real meaning, the creation of dignity through work, dignity both in himself and in his role and position in society, among his family and his peers Second, Bloodworth believes that the recent past, a few decades ago, was not some hell of intersectionalist oppression, but a time when the English working class had acquired that dignity, now lost Speaking of a typical worker fifty years ago, Bloodworth says He may have hated his dull job as a lathe worker in a Nottingham factory, but he could at least take a day off now and then when he was ill There was a union rep on hand to listen to his grievances if the boss was in his ear If he did get the sack he could usually walk into another job without too much fuss There were local pubs and clubs at which to drink and socialise after work In other words, the working man had meaning, and was integrated into society He had a place, and that place made him feel a man.The need for meaning, which in practice for most men can only be derived from productive work, is one reason why Universal Basic Income, or trying to achieve a post scarcity future, or any social policy that removes the need to work, is problematic Men far prefer a dangerous job with camaraderie to lethargic, pampered anomie, and over, it was from such camaraderie, combined with strong families made possible by good jobs, that the tendrils of crucial social networks that built the societies of towns spread All that is gone now, including, Bloodworth notes than once, the working men s social clubs, gone like the bowling leagues Robert Putnam wrote about in Bowling Alone, and like all the other intermediary institutions that once made towns strong The focus here is very much men women, of course, mostly derive meaning not from jobs, but from children, family, and social relationships, and to deny this is to beclown yourself, since it is self evident and self proving But meaning for women is also destroyed when the social web of a town is destroyed.So how did we get here Bloodworth says the working class was demolished by the one two punch of Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair More precisely, Bloodworth ascribes the beginning of the end of this world as 1984, when Margaret Thatcher broke the coal miners unions Now, for years I was told by conservatives, and I believed, that Thatcher was a heroine, but in retrospect that is at most half true Zombie Thatcherism is no desirable than zombie Reaganism Certainly, Thatcher helped Ronald Reagan end the Cold War, and her actions in the Falklands War were also admirable though her encouragement of the 1990 Gulf War looks less admirable now But her economic program, efficient as it may have been and in keeping with Chicago School doctrine, may well have been responsible for the current miserable state of the British working class The stock conservative, or neoconservative neoliberal, response, is to say But the coal miners were dinosaurs, holding the country hostage And maybe they were, but that does not explain why they, and their entire class, had to be given to the fire, except as a way to remake society, clay ground to build the atomized globalism of Cool Britannia Of course, they were betrayed by Labour too as Bloodworth notes, the hollowed out response of Blairism was not to tame capitalism but to offer a palliative of consumerism to those who sweated to make the wheels turn Neoliberals such as Blair and Theresa May would never actually champion the working class they worship their globalist European masters, and rely on Chinese debt to keep the wolf from the door.Thus, when the working class no longer had either economic or political power, and had no chance of getting it back, unemployment or underemployment rose as the good jobs disappeared For those who still had jobs security disappeared and wages dropped This destroyed the dignity of the working men directly affected, with resulting effects far beyond, to their families, to the tradesmen, and to entire towns and regions Snap one thread and the whole web breaks.The Tony Blair solution of consumerism is the very heart of the matter Consumerism, not religion, is today the opiate of all the people, dulling them at the same time they are bombarded with propaganda about how free, how very free, they now are Bloodworth astutely ties overt consumerism to other manifestations of the same belief system, such as the omnipresent thought terminating cocktail of uplift found in tat with slogans like Keep Calm and Drink Prosecco or Dream It, Live It, Love It, identifying it at root a call to stop thinking Another manifestation is, as Bloodworth talks about when driving for Uber in London, continual selling of, and celebration of, freedom and autonomy that is really neither, but enslavement to vice and dopamine hits derived from clicking Buy This claim that we are all now free dovetails so tightly with the Zeitgeist that none think, or perhaps none dare to think, whether the philosophy being sold to them is a scam And on those rare occasions they are criticized for offering consumerism to those without dignity, oily men like Blair offer bromides about increased social mobility, which means enabling those with talent to leave their towns and people behind, to become global citizens resident in Cool Britannia, riding metaphorical airships above the teeming masses What is certain in all of this is that no restoration of working class dignity is on offer.From the perspective of the identity politics harpies who dominate the American Left I am not sure about the British Left , cawing about intersectionality and inclusion, Bloodworth must seem a great sinner for believing that dignity for everyone is important, that dignity does not derive from emancipation from supposed oppression, and for recognizing the differences between men and women He repeatedly flies his sinner flag high, too, for example favorably quoting a Welshman s complaint that a man cannot support his family on thirty pounds a day, and complaining that the new masters were no longer wicked men in top hats, but men likely to unbutton their shirt collars, roll up their sleeves, and wax lyrical about diversity Enough of this and it s pretty clear Bloodworth has no use for the diversity and inclusion crowd.This is not really surprising One sees this inadvertent buttressing of reality, particularly of sex differences, quite frequently in books that focus on the working class, because the problems discussed are rooted in reality, and if you live in a pretend reality, as the identify politics people do, you can t actually understand, much less improve, the lot of the working class Bloodworth, however, struggles with the working class attitude to migrants, whether Eastern European or Asian Being a realist, he recognizes that British culture is being, or has been, destroyed, and in part it is the result of migrants No doubt if he were being honest he would mean the Asians, since they stay, and have a lust for domination, while the Eastern Europeans leave, for the most part I t is untrue to say that a distinct English culture does not exist Those who engage in this kind of self flagellating talk would be in your face if you ever suggested that, say, Jamaica or India did not have their own distinct cultures and ways of life But he accurately identifies that capitalism, in the form of neoliberalism, is equally to blame He frequently criticizes the destruction of the high street what we would call Main Street in every English city and town, with local shops replaced by McDonald s and ticky tack discount stores, such as BM which seems to be the rough equivalent of Dollar General, or perhaps a hybrid of that and Walmart Good jobs are now replaced by working for places like BM, which has the same defects as working for Compounding his sin, Bloodworth attacks the Arora brothers, Indian owners of BM, as one of the contemporary success stories of liberal politics, by which he means their success allows liberals to feel good about multiculturalism, and ignore the destruction wrought, and that the new boss is, whatever his ethnicity, the same as the old boss According to Bloodworth, the workers at BM at least in Blackpool did improve their lot, through unionization which apparently in England only requires getting a vote of ten percent of the workforce , after which conditions, anecdotally, improved Whether conservatives should support unions, other than of government workers, which should never be allowed, is an important question, but this review is long enough already Back to If one has to pick the most pernicious element of , it is that the company offers no job security to the vast majority of workers You have what they in England call a zero hours contract, meaning you may not be paid at all, since you are only paid for the hours the company chooses to employ you Even if you are given work, the algorithm penalizes you for not picking enough items per hour, for being late, for being sick, for taking too long a bathroom break, even when the bathroom is hundreds of meters away If you get six points, you are fired what they call released Implicit in the zero hours contract, but distinct as a concept, is a job characteristic that is true of most American jobs, but much rarer in the rest of the developed world at will employment, meaning the employee can be fired at any time for any reason or no reason, with no recourse against the employer and he can quit at any time, without any recourse against the employee.Bloodworth paints zero hours contracts as the tool of the devil On the other hand, I employ hundreds of people, all on what amount to zero hours contracts, and I have extremely low turnover, therefore presumably a happy work force The difference is I offer work that is functionally guaranteed, forty hours, where new unskilled employees start at nearly double minimum wage, with much voluntary overtime available, paid at time and a half For me as an employer, the key benefit of zero hours contracts is not the ability to shrink hours, but the at will employment Without that, I would risk the inefficiency and disruption that a contractual dispute, or some government or union functionary demanding payments, would cause, if I fired an employee, which has to be done not infrequently The safety net for my fired employees is unemployment payments I make as is not well known, unemployment is paid by the employer, though checks are written by the government, making it appear like a government benefit Thus, at will employment is not an inherently awful system.In the British context, and even in other European countries, it is nearly impossible to fire a worker Presumably, when unions were strong, much the same thing was true At will employment has the legitimate purpose of reducing the risk to a company of making new hires True, when workers become viewed as commodities, it can have malign effects For example, according to Bloodworth, holds out the possibility of a permanent job, a blue badge, as a manipulative carrot, but rarely or never delivers I d like to say that much of the responsibility is on employers to behave decently, but that can t be relied on, and especially not now, because social degradation affects all levels of society, and the old ideal, of a social compact among employers and the employed, doesn t get much traction any Perhaps the answer is some type of probationary status, at will for a time before the worker receives some additional security maybe not guaranteed employment, but a guaranteed severance payment, perhaps Still, such solutions are band aids on the real problem, that the social compact has broken down Review continues as first comment.


  4. says:

    I work in the Employability Sector, and have done so for 15 years Several employers ago, my Team had successfully placed ten of our customers as new employees with TK Maxx, a major clothing and housewares retailer in the UK We were pretty surprised, not to mention confused when they came back to our office with news of their new job offers and that they had been employed under an agreement known as a Zero Hour Contract None of us had known what such a thing might be, and were horrified to hear that a Zero hour contract means that our customers were now to be kept waiting on tenterhooks by their new Bosses and unsure of whether they would be working a shift or not, permanently at their beck and call It s a system that has spread widely since then and which almost all retailers now seem to use to a greater or lesser extent James Bloodworth has written an excellent account of entry level gig economy employment in modern Britain where low hour contracts are only the beginning of the many slights and abuses inflicted upon workers in a wide selection of industries And James has not been writing away in some Ivory Tower in Kings Cross while sipping on a Latte, he has certainly put the hours in by actually doing the work himself undercover at a variety of locations including a Cab Company, an Elderly Care organisation, and perhaps most notoriously, the mighty .com He writes fluently and with feeling about his co workers, about the localities, and about the Management of course Not all the Managers were bad those in the Care Industry didn t come off too badly, in particular the Trainer who was highly praised But there were the others of courseBy the others I suppose I mean than anyone else, as that multi national Behemoth of Fulfilment really should know better, a lot better Jeff Bezos poses as a Liberal in the American sense and owns the Washington Post and yet he and his company treat employees like minimum wage robots imprisoned in a Jeremy Bentham style Panopticon where someone Manager, Team Leader is always watching you James s story of his time in the stupendously sized Warehouse in Rugely, Stafforshire describes perfectly the claustrophic and Kafka esque organisational style there and which sounds like a tale from Communist East Germany than modern Britain I have heard plenty of other reports from former employees, so it doesn t entirely surprise meSome readers may be disappointed when they read to the end and find that there is no Grand Manifesto or Call to Arms at the end I am afraid I didn t find that a problem, in my opinion James Bloodworth is providing Witness Testimony to what is going on and it works very well as such A Solution to the Low wage revolution that has permeated Britain and other countries will probably need another book perhaps from those Dreaming Spires in London N1


  5. says:

    Rather like a modern version of Orwell s Road to Wigan Pier, Bloodworth s book describes six months undercover in low wage Britain Bloodworth takes on jobs in an warehouse in Rugeley, as a care worker sort of in Blackpool, in a call centre in the South Wales Valleys and as an Uber driver in London.His experiences provide valuable insights into the life that goes with these low wage jobs The workers face two huge problems not being paid enough to live on and oppressive working conditions, including zero hours contracts The low pay was potentially the case in all the examples in principle, the Uber driving could have produced a better return , while the conditions varied from the extremely iffy at Rugeley to pleasant enough at the Admiral call centre, where Bloodworth had to struggle to find anything to complain about other than a boring job and the company culture being a little too jolly.The tasks at Rugeley and in Blackpool were also like to leave the worker so worn out that they had very little other life At least, in principle this applied in Blackpool, as Bloodworth was never able to actually do the job because his Disclosure and Barring Service clearance did not come through in time for him to undertake the task, though he was able to shadow another worker for part of his time there.Bloodworth does a good job in uncovering the reality of these jobs and the lives of those who undertake them He claims that he is only observing and doesn t offer solutions, but in an epilogue does give a little thought to this Suggestions from here and elsewhere of a realistic living wage, the ability to be unionised and end to zero hours contracts are straightforward and sensible However, Bloodworth s analysis does skip over one thing that comes across glaringly in his account This low wage economy is propped up by freedom of movement Reading the book made me significantly sympathetic to Jeremy Corbyn s viewpoint that leaving the EU would be beneficial because companies would have to pay without a ready supply of low paid EU nationals to fill these posts Of course that means cost to consumers and taxpayers, but surely that is worthwhile to avoid such poor working conditions Will reading this book make me stop using the companies and services Bloodworth mentions No that would inconvenience me and wouldn t help the workers But the picture it gives of these low pay jobs does encourage me to look to future governments for a better living wage and improved worker s rights.


  6. says:

    Interesting look in to British gig economy, reminded me


  7. says:

    I was disappointed in this book unfortunately Maybe I m unfairly comparing it to Polly Toynbee s excellent book Hard Work Life In Low Pay Britain she did the same thing as Bloodworth, just 15 years earlier.https www.goodreads.com book show 9What I missed in Bloodworth s book was the wider political perspective how did this happen, who made it happen, and what do current parties want to do about it, if anything I also found some of his comments analyses slightly too biased and would have liked a objective perspective at times, and or some statistics.It was also slightly repetitive at times there were a few times when I thought oops, must be on the wrong page now, I ve read this before only to see that no, he just said the same thing one time.He is an ok writer could be succinct though so I wish he had spent some time on research and putting his experience into context I also did not get exactly how long he stayed in each place in contrast, Toynbee s book gives full details on this, and also on how much money she spends on what Toynbee s introduction consists of her detailing a meeting with a social worker who tells her how much money she would get if she were, for example, fleeing from domestic violence, and how she coped with setting up a new home.Ok, I ll stop going on about Toynbee now Read both unless you know a lot about the issues in the UK labour market you ll learn some from this one, and loads from Toynbee s


  8. says:

    4.5An important book looking at low paid, insecure work in the UK which seems to be part of the trend not just in Britain but around the world Bloodworth took jobs in an warehouse sorry fulfilment centre , with care services assisting the elderly, in a call centre in Wales, and as an UBER driver in London so that he could experience at first hand the conditions he s writing about and he talked to other workers in same and similar jobs, and ordinary folks living in the depressed towns he visited What emerges is a disturbing portrait.


  9. says:

    A well researched, highly self aware and accessible insight into the state of Britain s in work poverty with a healthy examination of class too I knew warehouses and zero contract hours were a bad thing, but boy, was this an eye opener into just how bad Highlights The difference between the man with money and the man without is simply this the one thinks how shall I use my life , the other how shall I keep myself alive Edward Reardon The speedy efficiency which characterises middle class life is non existent in many working class homes Poverty is the thief of time The office walls were plastered with Keep Calm and Drink Prosecco Dream it, Live It, Love it Love is all you Need etc This thought terminating cocktail of uplift seems to have spread like a particularly contagious disease in recent years, and it is hard not view it as soothing palliative churned out en masse with a particular end in mind Religion no longer has much hold over young people in Britain, yet some of its fatalism has been cleverly appropriated by consumer capitalism This sort of thing is at root a call to stop thinking, a homely retreat to an isle of fatalism dressed up as liberation, whereas times like these demand one s full engagement in the world.


  10. says:

    Hired will be praised as an unflinching look at modern Britain That should give grave offence to modern Britain Though a documentary, owing much to George Orwell and Barbara Ehrenreich, it spreads out like a Hieronymus Bosch except that Bloodworth s figures are made of flesh and blood, and Hell is the bottom end of the British workforce The book is his account of six months minimum wage work often, in reality, lower and what he did in the towns that rarely interest governments or the media.We start in the warehouse in Rugeley, Staffordshire It stands incongruous in the countryside which seems an odd term for a building dwarfed by three cooling towers, flanked by two industrial estates, and barely a few minutes walk from the town dump Working as an order picker, he walks the equivalent of ten miles daily inside a building the size of ten football pitches Three supervisors are on hand to bellow at each worker who returns even thirty seconds late Each worker carries a handheld device to track their every move, like lags in some high tech prison The devices spits out a torrent of instructions sent by a distant line manager It is easy, he says, to imagine a future where human beings are wired up to similar machines twenty four hours a day Set aside to the inhumanity of the machinery is the inhumanity of the human staff All the pickers are placed via agencies many are lured from Eastern Europe with promises of working in John Lewis s in the city All contracts are zero hours Documents are proffered for signature before being whisked away with a swiftness to impress a cheetah One agency member, thankfully sacked in 2013, repeatedly bragged about the joys of stopping the suckers benefits for 13 weeks.Before long he applies for work as a Carer in Blackpool Applies is the key word, since the job requires a DBS check before he can actually start working Due to cuts in police staff, the processing speed can last months after an interview long after the job has been filled by someone else Care agencies do not recognise unions staff turnover is high Each carer is expected to spend a minimum of twenty minutes per person, a target frequently impossible with the infirm and the elderly With care farmed out to contractors, the number of clients packed into the working day trumps petty concerns like quality or dignity Errors or outright omissions in medication records are rife, especially among staff with poor English skills Accidental overdoses or poisoning is not unheard of Many of the people needing care have no relatives or friends in driving distance The warning embedded in these scenes cannot be ignored Britain s ageing population co exists with a younger population that works some of the longest hours in Europe Britain s population is living longer than ever before one person in three born after 2013 will live to be a hundred Based on our present attitudes to care, it seems, likely than not, this will be the fate awaiting most Britons.Bloodworth shares Orwell s knack for discerning truth from the way other people lie He notes how socialist realism has mutated into the fake cheeriness of corporate PR You may slave for 29 a day, but your CEO with a net value of 60 billion is an associate People are released rather than sacked a warehouse is a fulfilment centre Call centres abound with half witted slogans and company mandated fun group activities the songs had a definite whiff of the ode to the tyrant He notes how the contrived wackiness exposes low wages and apathy ruthlessly rather than disguise it.Perhaps the worst abuser is the taxi firm Uber On the surface, all seems well At the tap of a button a driver is summoned, no matter the hour, and often cheaper than a traditional cab Drivers work flexible hours, paid at a piece rate delivered by apps The name for this burgeoning sector the gig economy evokes images of rock stars rolling out of bed late, turning up for work whenever the whim takes you It seems effective The number of self employed Britons rose to a record high of 4.7 million in 2016, fuelled in no small part by the gig economy Some cite this as the triumph of the entrepreneur Bloodworth sees this as a mirage by legally deeming its drivers, independent contractors , not employees, the company has no obligation to pay the minimum wage, basic sick pay, or pay any significant taxes on profits Drivers who refuse even two requests from the Uber app in a row can be barred for life, and failure to maintain high ratings by customers whether they re drunk, difficult, psychopathic, or, worse, Londoners results in less work Work is allocated by an algorithm, with no warning of the journey s length in advance Bloodworth is not nostalgic and demands that we reject received notions about work Tedious though a call centre may be, no one perishes in an explosion or a collapse at an office He finds it odd how, when decrying the trampling of English culture, small towners target the solitary Polish aisle in the supermarket, not the identikit chain stores and fast food outlets Ronald McDonald, he says, deserves blame than foreign fruit pickers He deplores how progressives romanticise East Europeans but damn the English working class as incorrigibly racist and idle A sugar tax will not make the nation healthier, it will make the poorly paid poorer still when your work and income is irregular, so is your diet Foodies and pontificating celebrities, like Jamie Oliver, fill him with outrage.Bloodworth lacks the finesse of a John McPhee and has a bad habit of quoting people who spell out exactly what he has just been thinking Sometimes his people are faintly drawn mere springboards for factoids Some may be frightened off by his truth telling, which is the sincerest compliment one can pay this born writer and his restless, searching intelligence.