Ten individuals give personal and sometimes moving accounts of warehouse and food factory work, and reflect on their creative lives within and beyond the workplace. Their stories reveal some of the harsh employment conditions in contemporary capitalist workplaces in these sectors, and confirm the power inequalities inherent in them. Three of the narrators also look back to earlier decades, remembering their working experiences in food production.
A great deal, like repetitive work, uncertain hours and easy dismissal, has stayed the same. But, taken together, the films evoke a story of how workplace experiences have changed over a forty-year period with intensified pressure on agency workers in warehouses through higher productivity targets, longer distances to cover each day, and computerised policing of breaks.
The films explore workplace experiences within people’s wide-ranging stories, enabling the person at the heart of each story to choose how to narrate their place within it. Each narrator reflects on matters of importance to them beyond work and management regimes, such as their creative lives and their relationships with other people.
Using multiple and varied narratives, the films disrupt taken-for-granted and common sense categories often used to stereotype people such as ‘factory workers’, ‘warehouse workers’ or ‘migrants’. Perhaps there is a solidarity to be found in this that may one day bring about a challenge to oppressive workplace conditions.
Director: Jay Gearing (Red7 Productions)
Producers: Jay Gearing and Ben Rogaly
Researcher: Ben Rogaly (Sussex University)
Ten individuals give personal and sometimes moving accounts of warehouse and food factory work,
and reflect on their creative lives within and beyond the workplace.
This first chapter follows Agnieszka’s experience from her first day of working in the UK in a warehouse in the UK and tracks her change of heart when it comes to socialising.
Joanna reflects on the extreme working conditions she endured and her lifelong ambition to become a journalist.
Agnieszka offers a startling account of what it means to work in one of the biggest warehouses in the country.
An endearing account of one woman’s journey through preparing supermarket fruit, her relationship with cinema and Brexit.
A heartfelt story of how working through agencies and warehouses gives Natalina very little time to spend with her family.
Armins hitchhikes his way to discovering the exploitation inherent in warehouse and agency work.
Reminiscing on working with pigs and on a lettuce farm thirty years ago Steve remembers the creativity the latter job afforded him.
Miles recollects what it felt like to be treated as a commodity in his packing job whilst beating out his frustrations in his spare time.
Abdullah remembers a gentler pace of work bottling milk in the 1970s as he describes how his faith encourages him to give back to society
Using the power of poetry to overcome the difficult day-to-day realities of warehouse work.