Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Amazon: "Working in an Amazon warehouse feels like working in North Korea."



Amazon workers talked about the fear they have of the company & getting in serious trouble if they publicly talk about the working conditions that they endure with some comparing the company to North Korea due to how they are tracked, watched and monitored

I started to research the working conditions a few weeks ago at the Amazon fulfillment centres. These so-called fulfillment centres are the warehouses where the Amazon packages we receive are sorted.

The workers with whom I spoke to were insistent not to mention their names in any article. Very insistent due to a fear that they'll simply get sacked if they call out the working conditions at Amazon.

Why do they feel this way? Are Amazon monitoring what their workers say on social media? Certainly workers suspect that is the case.

They told me about the CCTV systems at the warehouses and how they believe - while at work - they are monitored all the time with everything they do tracked. It's not unusual for a workplace to have CCTV however the workers said at Amazon it was different - the way they were being monitored is on a whole new level.

Apparently there are a series of really draconian rules at the warehouses that the workers must obey. One includes banning languages other than English from being spoken.

An Italian speaker mentioned how he was not allowed to speak his language with a colleague. He said he reckons this is the case as managers want to know what workers are saying. 

Are Amazon managers listening to workers' conversations? This is certainly I question I'd like to have with Amazon bosses. 

________________________

Being Tracked Non-Stop

Workers are expected to work like robots to the point of exhaustion and if they don't, well they won't be working there much longer. 

Amazon maintain this system by tracking and monitoring workers to a real Orwellian level way with pressure put on workers if they don't make these super-hard targets. 

Breaks are monitored too. A worker mentioned how she would get two 30 min breaks a day (one is unpaid) and she'd get in trouble if she took even an extra minute of break. 

But what I was told that really hit me was the fear workers have to speak out. When they spoke to me, they really were asking me (even begging) not to mention their names or even the specific warehouse where they work due to a fear of getting in trouble.

Whether or not Amazon spy on what workers say about the company - this really deserves a deep investigation - but even if they don't, the culture at Amazon is so hostile that workers feel what they say about the company is being read. 

I spoke with a Trade Union official at the GMB who deals with Amazon. He told me that Amazon do act like a Dictatorship in how they want to give the public appearance that the working conditions are all fine at the warehouses. 

He told me about how Amazon do tours around their warehouses that resemble the tours the North Korean Government give to tourists coming to Pyongyang. 

When he was on a tour he was not allowed to see parts of the warehouse they did not want him to see, they made sure he did not go anywhere alone and all while having a subtle hostility to him as he is a trade unionist concerned with the conditions.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Why are the Right-Wing tabloids targeting RLB?



From all the Labour leadership candidates, RLB is the one who the Daily Mail & the Sun are most keen to attack. Why is that?

Since she declared that she was standing to be Labour leader, Rebecca Long-Bailey has faced from most outrageous attacks from Right-Wing newspapers and Right-Wing blogs. Attacks on her physical appearance, attacks on her Catholic faith & even attacks on her husband. 

Why? Why are the Right-Wing so keen to go after her?

The Tory blog Guido Fawkes did a story claiming her husband (Steve Bailey) is a Multi-Millionaire Director. Turns out this was a different Steve Bailey. The Daily Telegraph had an article insulting the shape of her face.

The Daily Mail ran a story attacking her for living in a nice house which of course was followed by comments by their readers calling her hypocrite for this because how dare a socialist live in a nice house!!! The Sun did a number of attacks including one where they reported that Labour-Right MPs will quit the Party if she becomes leader.

And all this does not include the attacks on her Catholic faith which took the smears to a whole new level. Despite being as progressive as anyone, due to her faith, based on an article from the very dodgy blog - Red Roar - people started claiming she opposes the right for women to choose. It was total nonsense but in today's world, its now the norm for untrue news to be believed.

In many ways these attacks are even worse than the Right-Wing's attacks on Jeremy Corbyn. Yes, of course he faced awful attacks but the attacks on her seem even more personal.

The question of course is why? Why are the Right-Wing focusing on RLB? We are told she is unelectable and no threat to the Tory Party, so if that is the case, why are the right focusing on her? Surely if she was no threat then they'd just ignore her.

The reason is that she is a threat to the Tories. People forget that while the 2019 election was a disaster for Labour, the 2017 election went quite well for them. The Party went from 30% (under Ed Miliband) to 40% (with Corbyn) and this frightened the hell out of not just the Tory Party but the entire establishment.

The fear hence is that RLB can do the same and better especially due to her focus on the Green New Deal. Climate Change has often been treated as a non-issue in UK politics, but it is becoming the number one issue for the young as fires & floods rage across the world. 

Labour already did very well with Corbyn among those born after 1990s and with RLB set to fight on a manifesto with the Green New Deal as her top policy, they could get that extra 2% to 3% more than they did in 2017 and come to power.

One of the reasons Labour just fell short of a victory in 2017 was that the youth turnout was quite a lot lower than the turnout of people aged 65+. In order to correct that, Labour need a policy to get the youth registered before the 2024 election and out voting Labour.

The Green New Deal with RLB leading the party is that policy, the Right-Wing know this and this why they are now so desperate to see her lose.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Labour Won't Win a General Election With Starmer



Sadly he just doesn't appeal to the voters Labour must win back. 

Like Tony Blair, Starmer appeals to the comfortably Middle-Class. But due to decades of Neo-Liberalism, there are less and less of those people and hence fewer voters who would be attracted to Starmer's politics. He would have been great in 1997, but I believe he'll really struggle in 2024 and with him in charge Labour could get an even worse result than they did in 2019.

Almost instantly after the December election result many felt extremely sad & that Labour needs to return to a more Centrist leadership to gain power. And I felt the same for a bit. I felt a more Centrist leader like Starmer would see Labour appealing to more people and getting more votes. But then when I started to think about it & realized this was not the case. 

A major reason why Labour lost the 1992 election was that a section of the Middle-Class, still with fresh Cold War memories, feared a scary socialist Government. Tony Blair's Centrism in 1997 & his success, was based on the fact that many in the Middle-Class now felt comfortable to vote Labour.

But Britain in the 2020s is very different to the 1990s. The middle-class is vanishing and fears of socialism too are vanishing. 

Labour's problem in 2019 was not from Middle-Class people with a fear of Socialism but from working-class people switching to the Tories partly due to Brexit. Seats that had been Labour for decades flipped to the Tories as voters felt that Labour was just a London Remain Party. 

Hence Starmer, a huge Remainer from London, would be the exact opposite of what Labour needs now. The Right-Wing press and the Tories would portray him as an out-of-touch Londoner and frankly there is a lot of truth in that. 

Furthermore what does he offer to those working-class people in terms of policy? Corbyn for all his flaws managed to get a lot of young people especially out voting Labour due his Left-Wing politics.

But Starmer does not even have that. I have asked a number of Starmer supporters the question of how he will win back seats in Northern England and they never give me an answer. And sadly I don't think there is an answer.

I know people are hurting due to the election defeat but while turning back to Centrism got Labour a victory in 1997, the signs appears to be that this will not be the case in 2024. 

My prediction with a Starmer leadership is that Labour will get a similar result to what Miliband got in 2015 (around 30%): I think he would get some votes from Middle-Class LibDemers and maybe make gains in the South-East, but not win back seats in the North and maybe lose a few more in the Midlands.