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Parcel Delivery Workers and the degradation of work

Kirsty Newsome,  Sian Moore,  Cilla Ross

Life for voiceless, low paid parcel delivery workers exposes the harsh realities of degraded work in 21st century Britain
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The volume of parcel deliveries in Britain has exploded, accounting in 2016 for more than 1 billion home deliveries. Britain, the biggest online shopping market in Europe, boasts a growing army of workers engaged in the connected activities of logistics, distribution and delivery. Transformations in the logistics function and parcel delivery have been directed at securing more exacting, demanding and time critical levels of service delivery at minimum cost.

The introduction of hand-held Personal Digital Assistants (PDA) has also been crucial. These devices render the supply chain transparent by affording senders and their recipients `sight’ of an item’s progress and expected delivery time. The efficiency gains made possible however must be set alongside the costs for labour. Workers may be subject to labour intensification (more labour input per unit of labour time) and dehumanizing patterns of control that render them literally appendages to digital devices. Whether or not they are depends on their location within the sector. Read more

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