Sunday, 7 January 2018

UK's State Sanctioned Slave Labour Force.

            Slave labour is alive and well in the UK, though most people are unaware of its extent. What is more it is state sanctioned, and housed in special built units all across the country. It is big business, and makes millions for the corporate world and undercuts the living standards of the ordinary working population. This slave labour force is paid as little as 40p an hour, no paid holidays, no right to join a union, can be punished for not working hard enough, and has none of the workers rights that have been won by bitter struggles over the centuries.
        This vast slave labour army is housed at our expense of approximately £33,000 a year, of tax payers money, per individual, but produces massive profits for the corporate world. I am of course talking about UK system of encouraging the corporate world to use prisoners as a very cheap, captive, labour force.
         Prisons have always been used as a means of control and repression of the ordinary people, in the past they have been used to colonise occupied territories, but we no longer colonise other people's countries, so the state has switched prisons into cheap totally controlled, commercial units for their corporate buddies. Prisons built and run by private companies for profit and useing prisoners as a source of cheap labour is now the norm in this country. The UK has the most privatised prison system in Europe.
        Our babbling brook of bullshit, the mainstream media will from time to time highlight the use of prison labour by large corporations in other countries, but seldom shine a light on the subject of UK prison labour. However the UK prison slave labour industry is used by many well know brand names. Of course it is dressed up as "preparing prisoners for life outside prison" but paying them £10 for a 40 hour week to produce goods for rich companies to sell in the open market, seems to stink of raw greedy exploitation. Prison slave labour may not be the main source of our shrinking living standards, but it definitely is a very strong contributing factor, and is certainly a model the corporate world would love to expand.
          Since the Lib-Dems enabled the Tories back into power in 2010, British workers have suffered the longest sustained period of long-term wage deflation in recorded history. The real terms value of British wages has slumped 10.4% since the economic crisis, a wage decline only matched in severity by Greece out of all of the most developed economies in the world.
         The Tories have been doing everything they can to reduce wages and the disposable incomes of ordinary people: They've reduced public sector wages in real terms by imposing below inflation 1% pay rises (whilst accepting an 11% pay raise for themselves), they've overseen an exponential rise in people employed on exploitative Zero Hours Contracts, they've repeatedly slashed in-work benefits like Tax Credits and Housing Benefit, they've massively increased the amounts charged for university education and the interest rates charged on this appalling form of Aspiration Tax, they've unlawfully used unemployed people as a massive pool of free labour to distribute to their corporate mates and they've massively expanded the number of prisoners working for private companies too.
        The economic effect of prison labour driving down the wages of ordinary workers is bad enough in itself, but there is evidence that the availability of prison labour is actually resulting in real job losses as unscrupulous companies lay off their paid workforces and replace them with prison labour.

Again from Another Angry Voice, some specific examples:

     DHL According to the One3One website the global distribution company employs over 800 UK based prisoners to receive orders, pick, pack and ship. Meanwhile they have been shutting distribution centres, laying off hundreds of paid staff across the country (including 330 jobs in Droitwich, 200 job losses in Swindon and further job losses in Scunthorpe and Corby), and slashing wages across their distribution network prompting strike action. This is how Chris Taylor, DHL General Account Manager described the scheme on the One3One Solutions website: "Once you are through the prison door we like to create an environment identical to any DHL workplace". 
Going Green
        A Cardiff based loft insulation and solar panel instillation company that laid off 17 workers at their call centre and replaced them with prisoners from Prescoed prison at an hourly rate of just 40p an hour
Speedy Hire A tool hire company that sacked 800 workers and shut down 75 depots in 2010. Since then they have massively increased the size of their prison contract to service and repair the tools they hire out, paying Erlestoke, Garth and Pentonville prisons £114,012 for the services of around 100 prisoners during the 2010-11 financial year. 
Timson Ltd
         The boss James Timson is happy to act as a propaganda mouthpiece for the government's prison labour scheme, but what he fails to mention in his praise for the programme is that his company's increased use of prison labour coincided with a wave of redundancies that wiped out some 30% of the paid workforce at the company.
CiscoCisco is mentioned by the Tory MP Andrew Selous as being a big player in the government's prison labour scheme. In August 2016 the company announced that it plans to lay off 5,500 workers worldwide. Perhaps they could prevent a few job losses in the UK by bringing the services they've outsourced to prison labour schemes back in-house?
From Incarcerated Workers Organising Committee: 
         Prisoners that work in prisons have no rights to organise, no contracts, no pensions, no right to to choose what they do – they have no use of the gains that workers have fought and died for over centuries. If prisoners refuse to work they are punished via the IEP (Incentives and Earned Privileges Scheme), and can have visits, association (time outside in a courtyard or out of cell) and other ‘privileges’ take away from them. They are the ultimate captive workforce for capitalist industries and have been used to break strikes, while simultaneously taking jobs out of communities and into prisons. Prison labour has been used as a tool for conquest and domination for centuries, from using convict labour to colonise countries, to putting prisoners to work in making goods for armies and war.
       This is state and capitalism working hand in hand to protect and enhance their power, privileges and wealth at our expense. They see nothing wrong in locking people up and turning them into cheap production units with no rights what so ever. The system stinks from top to bottom, it is a bubbling cesspool of greed and exploitation, far beyond reform. For justice, freedom and peace, its destruction is the only answer.

No comments:

Post a Comment