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Books Editorial

hiredbook.jpg Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain

James Bloodworth, Atlantic Books

In all the chatter during the past year or so about falling, and, indeed, record employment levels, there hasn’t been nearly enough discussion about what kind of employment is being created, something which James Bloodworth has addressed in this important new book. In it he journeys to some of the most deprived parts of the country – including Blackpool and the South Wales Valleys, as well as London – to live and take up work in call centres, warehouses, in social care and as an Uber driver. This is the frontline of precariat Britain where the strength of unions has been replaced by the uncertainly of zero hour contracts with workers often putting in long shifts in demanding and/or soul-destroying jobs for the minimum wage. It’s an eye-opening account with the facts and figures being backed up by the author’s descriptions of what it’s actually like to be on your feet all day chasing around a warehouse - electronic messages fired your way demanding that you work harder - before you eventually tumble into the only bed you can afford in cockroach invested, overcrowded accommodation.