‘If not you, they can get ten different workers in your place’
Racial capitalism and workplace resistance
in Stories from a migrant city
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Opening with the extended story of one former Amazon worker, Chapter 3 focuses on continuity and change in capitalist work, noting an increase in employment through agencies, zero-hours appointments, ‘agile’ management and supervision regimes, digital recording of productivity and the use of algorithms for allocating labour. In and around Peterborough the growing, packing and processing of food has a long history of relying on seasonal, temporary and/or migrant workforces. The recent growth in warehouse employment on the edge of the city builds on a similar model of recruitment and management of workers for the tasks of picking, packing and despatching goods. Using oral history, this chapter explores the organisation of work and the way workers’ experiences in these sectors are shaped by the specificities of their workplaces. Taken together, the sites of housing, recruitment, transport and work are sites of discipline and control, in spite or because of which the often non-unionised, multi-ethnic, multi-national and multi-lingual workforces occasionally find means to resist, assert their dignity and experience solidarity and conviviality. This chapter shows that addressing racial injustice is essential to fighting the inequalities and injustices of capitalist workplaces.

Stories from a migrant city

Living and working together in the shadow of Brexit

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