Dec

2

By nightowl

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Categories: The Grauniad strikes again

It’s a huge shit sandwich and we’re all gonna have to take a bite

This Guardian article on the history of the sandwich industry in the UK is very interesting, but I couldn’t help rolling my eyes at the journalist happily peddling the unexamined official narrative on Brexit making everyone bankrupt in the foreseeable future, from factory owners to the NHS (Britain Relies On Immigrants™).

In the main production hall, which had a red floor and a thrumming air supply – keeping the temperature a steady 10C – a couple of hundred workers lined seven conveyor belts. Chahar took me to the middle of the room, where around a dozen women were making one of Adelie’s newest lines, a chicken tikka and onion bhaji sandwich, which is popular among students. The belt was going at about 33 sandwiches a minute, so the woman at each stage – arranging the 40g of chicken, dolloping and spreading out the bhaji paste, sprinkling on 3g of coriander – got less than two seconds before they went past.

Standing at a conveyor belt in 10 degrees Celsius, repeatedly putting stuff on a new slice of bread every 1½ seconds. In other words, living the dream.

I thought it sounded familiar…

Over the years, Chahar has tried to get unemployed British people to join his sandwich lines. “They come here. They do half day. They never come back,” he told me. (Adelie has also made similar, largely unsuccessful attempts with ex-convicts.) The work is too cold, and too repetitive. Pay at the Wembley factory starts at £7.50 an hour. As a result, most sandwich factories have relied on immigrant labour for at least a decade

Well, my good man, I’m not sure how to put it to you but if the only people who are prepared to do a particular job are poor immigrants desperate for money… maybe, just maybe, there is something wrong with the job.

In order to make things perfectly clear, this a worker’s typical day:

Sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich
sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich – 30 mn lunch break –
sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich
sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich sandwich – go home.

All day. Every day. Standing still in the cold. For £7.50 an hour.

Can anybody tell me what’s wrong with this picture? Anybody? Anybody at all?

I see dead pickles

For Chahar, who dreams of introducing the sandwich to Algeria, it is a baffling situation. “The British people needs to get into this job. It is the sandwich,” he said. “They should be proud.”

The man is delusional. How is doing a mind-numbing job for peanuts something to be proud of? Of course the Brits never come back! Why on earth would they agree to work in Third World conditions in their own country? I don’t see the journalist resigning from the Guardian on the spot and demanding a hairnet and a pair of white wellies!

Miss! He’s crushing my lettuce!

“Brexit has fucked everything up,” one chief executive, whose firm relies heavily on eastern European labour, told me. “On the day after the vote, on that Friday, people are walking up to me and saying, ‘Do I go home now?’ These are the people who dug us out of a hole when the indigenous population failed.”

Yeah but no. The indigenous population didn’t fail, it’s just not interested in being exploited and undercut by Eastern Europeans. This has nothing to do with laziness, just common sense.

Try paying a living wage, Mr Chief Executive, and watch the Brits come back in their droves. And by living wage, I mean a salary which allows people to have a decent lifestyle in the UK, not just sleep on a mattress in a house shared with 20 other guys, eat tinned food and send all your money back to Hungary.

It’s so simple, and yet it just never occurs to them. Huh.

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