|The News Line: Editorial
Saturday, 17 November 2018
May’s Britain a hostile place for workers and youth – Now is the time to kick the Tories out!
DESTITUTION under May’s crippled Tory government is soaring to levels not seen since the Victorian times. The roll-out of Universal Credit has created mass evictions, where entire families are moved from pillar to post, bedsit to bedsit, while the amount of people sleeping rough on the streets is rapidly growing.
Doctors have now warned that Universal Credit has become a public health risk! The Gateshead study found that six of the claimants in their report said that Universal Credit had made them so depressed that they considered taking their own lives.
Many of those who do have homes are living in slum conditions. You now have terraced houses split into six rooms with two or three to a room. In one case a homeless family in Cornwall was rehoused 13 times in 18 weeks. Dean and Amy Coombes were evicted from their house in St Austell, Cornwall, on 29 June, along with their four children aged under eight.
Since then they have been placed in caravans on campsites, holiday cottages, a hotel and a room above a pub, in different parts of the county. Dean Coombes said the experience felt like being ‘strangled’.
And it’s not just the unemployed who rely on benefits to survive. A vast proportion of workers rely on ‘in-work benefits’. Wages just do not cover your rent. Jobs are so scarce that bosses are driving down wages and driving up ‘productivity’. The capitalists’ maxim for the present and the future is: ‘Work like a robot or a robot will take your job!’
One of the most notorious of employers, Amazon, has geared up for ‘Black Friday’ and Xmas – a period in which they super-exploit their workforce to make super profits.
And Amazon has fired the starting gun on Black Friday early. In the US tradition it has become a near-fortnight long £10bn shopping extravaganza in the UK, based on the super-exploitation of the working class.
The web giant has been joined by other high street street names, including Argos and Currys PC World, in making an early start to the bargain shopping event on Friday 23 November. Amazon and some big chains have made up to 50% discounts on tens of thousands of products – from large-screen 4K HD TVs, wireless speakers, headphones to laptops, all available as of yesterday.
On top of its army of workers Amazon has hired an extra 100,000 temps for Black Friday and Xmas. These jobs are predominantly in Amazon’s warehouses, given the dystopian name ‘Fulfilment centres’. Warehouse work in the UK is a form of slave labour!
However, even though Amazon is hiring 100,000 temporary workers, this is down from the 120,000 workers hired for the 2017 and 2016 holiday periods. This reduction marks the first time in Amazon’s history that it has scaled down its holiday hiring numbers with many pointing to the company’s growing reliance on automated workers as the reason for this ... It is the rise of the robots!
In 2012 Amazon bought Kiva Systems, a USA-based robotics company. Kiva Systems’ robots process the sorting, packing and shipping of Amazon packages at least four times faster than a human could and were rolled out to Amazon warehouses in 2014.
Analysts predicted Kiva Systems robots save Amazon as much as $2.5 billion (£2bn) compared to paying wages to human workers. To keep your warehouse job, you will now have to be able to match your sorting speed, package for package, head to head with a machine.
To help you along, Amazon has patented a wristband that workers wear which tracks their movements and vibrates to point an employee’s hand in the right direction to pick the right package. It also tracks the worker’s pulse and location, so would be able to relay information about how fast they were working and how long they take for a break.
Already there have been damning reports of Amazon workers walking 18 miles in a day up and down the warehouse, and of workers collapsing of exhaustion, as well as a recent report by the GMB union showing that there were 600 health and safety breaches, including fractures, collisions with heavy equipment, forklift truck accidents and head injuries.
This is May’s Britain! Destitution, Victorian slum living, food banks, mass evictions, homelessness, and robot workers are commonplace! Becoming vassals of the EU is the last straw! Now is the time to kick the May government out to go forward to a workers government and socialism!
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