Outsourcing, exploitation and the new reality of work
December 10, 2015 4:57 AM   Subscribe

As you read this story you will recognise that the economic system that continues to keep black people very, very poor in this country has been broken for so long, and the private sector has been so strong for so long, that we have a vast imbalance that has been allowed to flourish unchecked. We the people have not been demanding when it comes to scrutiny of corporate conduct. [...] This story – this one you will read about Coca-Cola - is part of a rich canon. It exists because of First and Gqabi and Nxumalo and Jaffer and countless others.
This story is important because of its content but also because of the context in which it has been written. It forms part of a rich history. Ruth First and Joe Gqabi did a series of investigations into the conditions of farmers in Bethel in the late 1940s. They wrote about the lives of people hidden from view. Later, in the 1950s, Henry Nxumalo wrote about similar issues. His exposes included interviews with over 50 farm workers. He posed as a labourer and risked his life to tell us the truth. Zubeida Jaffer did the same thing in 1980. She spoke to the family members of protesters who had been killed by the police in the Cape. She walked house-to-house and door-to-door and then published a full-page story. As a result, the slaughter of ordinary people by a murderous minority government was exposed.
posted by infini (2 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Jesus, what a read. This bit they pull out from the contracts is almost unbelievable:
ABI shall pay the Owner Driver a tyre expenses subsidy equal to T, calculated to the following formula:
T = K x E
when K is the Standard Distance traveled during the invoice period, E is the tyre expenses subsidy rate of 0 cents.
Why not just say "No tyre subsidy will be paid?" The manipulation and contempt behind putting something that empty into a contract...of course it's symptomatic of the manipulation and contempt running through the whole thing, but what a symptom.
posted by felix grundy at 6:34 AM on December 10, 2015 [7 favorites]

So they were company employees, then they got rail-roaded into being contractors, and then the contracts got ratcheted downwards until they were paupers and debtors.

Dang, this sounds like it would dovetail perfectly with that Erosion Of The American Middle Class thread a little ways up the home page.
posted by wenestvedt at 10:39 AM on December 10, 2015 [3 favorites]

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