Sunday, 13 December 2015
Our dystopian future is here and now
t may be 5.30am and pitch-black on the outskirts of Shirebrook, Derbyshire - but the roads are busy. A stream of cars, typically packed with eastern Europeans, wind their way along country lanes and deliver about 1,500 people to a massive facility surrounded by farmland.
The crowd clutches packed lunches that have been stuffed inside transparent plastic shopping bags, which allow hovering security guards to quickly inspect what is being brought inside. A fingerprint scanner grants access to the building through security barriers, while everybody remains under constant surveillance from cameras. If you are spotted wearing unauthorised clothing, you are immediately pulled aside by the guards.
Step by step, minimum-wage workers are informed of what is expected of them for the headline rate of £6.70 an hour (in reality, many receive less) – including being told they will walk almost 20 miles each day inside the warehouse as they pick products off the shelves.
They can occasionally be harangued by name via tannoy if they don’t move quickly enough – “please speed up with your order as soon as possible”, the speaker system barks – while “crimes” against the company – called “strikes” and including “errors”, “excessive/long toilet breaks”, “time wasting”, “excessive chatting”, “horseplay”, “wearing branded goods” and “using a mobile phone in the warehouse” – are punished. Six strikes in six months and you’re out.
It's not a passage from a dystopian novel, but reality in UK. More frequent than is said. You can read the full article here.