Two books with a social conscience - review

Purely by coincidence, I asked Father Christmas for two sort-of travel books with a social conscience, so it's handy to be able to review them both together.

The first I read was James Bloodworth's Hired. 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 an Amazon warehouse 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 pleasant enough at the Admiral call …

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