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 thewarehouse 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 s 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 anwarehouse 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 plea 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 isa book of political philosophy, written from a worm s eye view, 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 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 aobjective perspective at times, and or somestatistics. 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 onetime. He is an ok writer could besuccinct though so I wish he had spent sometime on research and putting his
Interesting look in to British gig economy, reminded me ✓ Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain ✓ 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 anwarehouse 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. 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 knewwarehouses 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 The Guardian is publishing a series of anonymous reports from a worker inside anfulfillment center Our new column from insideThey 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 anWarehouse A read of this article on howtreats injured workers will help explain why. The author worked at four jobswarehouse worker, care worker, insurance call center worker and Uber driver Theand 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 staffand Carewatch U 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 Trailer æ Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain PDF by Û James Bloodworth 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
James Bloodworth is an English writer and the author of two books, The Myth of Meritocracy and Hired Six Months Undercover in Low Wage Britain His work has appeared in the Guardian, the Times, New York Review of Books, New Statesman and elsewhere He is on Twitter as J_Bloodworth.