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Are Old Rules and Protections Enough?

In a world where Capital confronts Labour?

Sacha Garben has written an interesting article about how the status of EU online workers can be recognised in terms of ‘employed’ workers so they can access health and safety protections and improved working conditions instead of being described as ‘self employed’. In the ‘new world of work’, Garben writes, ‘the old rules and existing protections are usually the best tools.

Image by Charles Koh

I am not convinced that tweaking the legal definition of ‘worker’ to include online platform workers will change the precarity of many online jobs, especially where online work is undertaken in the…

Photo by Chen Wui

The UK government’s Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy has been presented to Parliament but what does it mean? First, it is assertive in style and does not elaborate precisely why Russia, Iran and North Korea are threats to UK national security. Second, while the defence industrial strategy is to build more ships, aircraft and armoured vehicles, and fund research into ‘battle winning technologies’, there’s no mention of whether the use of such technologies should be limited by international agreements.

Compare these two sentences:

Through our investment in priority equipment and technologies to meet national security requirements, we…

Goodbye to Gasoline and Diesel. Hurrah!

Drove my Chevy to the levee. But the levee was dry. Words by Don Mclean.

Traffic lights and a long queue of cars with their rear lights on contrast with the dim murky background. Buffalo, Niagara.
Buffalo, Niagara. The Cost of Getting there. By Jacek Dylak

The Passion and the Power

The age of the internal combustion engine vehicle is ending. It lasted more than 150 years with ICE vehicles driven by millions who knew little about pistons and crankshafts or the physics of combustion and air pollution. How to atone for all that pollution? Should the film industry recognise its legacy? It has been celebrating these vehicles since 1927 and shows no sign of waving goodbye and welcoming the new era any time soon…

You will not be Watched

Photo by Mark Konig on Unsplash

In the film Jason Bourne (2016) tech big shot Aaron Kalloor has created Deep Dream, a sinister social media platform with the capacity to capture data from millions of citizens. After announcing to a media audience ‘you will not be watched’ in response to a query about the security of personal data Kalloor meets up with CIA director Robert Dewey in a dingy restaurant. The two argue over the merits of internet freedom versus surveillance and agree to hold a debate about privacy rights. Dodgy Dewey’s real aim though is to acquire data from Deep Dream for his global surveillance…

Marine Pollution caused by Oil Spills, Radioactive Waste and Plastic Litter

And the very deep did rot;

An ocean tanker under dark clouds and sunlit vapour trails
Image by Jens Rademacher

Not far from my childhood home in the village of Mousehole (West Cornwall) you will find the Bird Hospital and Sanctuary founded in 1928 by the sisters Dorothy and Phyllis Yglesisas. Long before marine pollution was researched by scientists the sisters embarked on a mission to rescue and heal wild birds; and what better place for a bird hospital than a site overlooking the beautiful Mount’s Bay! On a cloudless day blue waves glitter and herring gulls circle fishing boats, but this view misleads. For decades governments and companies discharged, sluiced, spilled and dumped…

Why sustainable Climate Finance has to increase

Photo by Todd Diemer on Unsplash

This year from November 9 for 12 days the UN Global Climate Conference (GOP26), hosted by the UK with Italy hosting the pre COP26, will take place in Scotland. Over 30,000 delegates are expected to attend the event in Glasgow including the climate campaigner Greta Thunberg. They will be discussing climate finance, carbon markets and the Paris Agreement pledges to reduce carbon emissions (Green House Gases) by 1.5%. (It should have been 2%). …

The high cost to women of expensive short term loans.

Money Saving expert Martin Lewis writes:

“The payday loan industry was built on the back of marketing, not need. They sold people the concept of a need to create a demand, then pushed products. Payday loans are for most a flawed concept. How many in dire need this payday would see such an improvement within a month that they not only not need to borrow again, but could repay last month’s loan plus the huge interest?”

Despite Lewis’s concerns the high cost short term loan industry (which includes payday loan services) continues to expand in the UK having grown rapidly…

UK Employment rates and the Gender Pay Gap

Photo by Claudio Hirschberger

According to the McKinsey Global Institute:

Bridging the gender gap in the United Kingdom could increase GDP by billions of pounds over the next decade and add 840,000 female employees to the economy.

The 2016 McKinsey report on advancing women’s equality is not the first to predict spectacular economic growth if more women enter the UK labour market, work harder and for longer. …

Capital and Low Paid Digital Data Workers

Over the past two decades digital technologies have made it possible for large numbers of people across the world to find employment with online labour platforms. There are now numerous platforms promoting online work in terms of career opportunities, flexible work options and smart alternatives to non platform employment. Clickworker, Clixsense, The Smart Crowd, Figure Eight and Amazon Mechanical Turk are some of the global players in the rapidly expanding global market.

Image by Domenico Loica

Amazon Mechanical Turk was established in 2005 and is one of the larger platforms with over 500,000 workers. In the MTurk…

Tony Janio the Leader of the Conservative Group on Brighton & Hove Council has written a cheery piece for his fans in Brighton & Hove Independent saying ‘unemployment is the lowest in living memory’ and continues:

‘the news that the numbers of low paid has just hit a record low is very welcome’.

What does this mean? I understand it to mean that many workers have dropped out of the labour market. According to the Guardian 132,000 EU workers quit the UK last year leaving many firms struggling to find replacements. Many of the EU workers will have been in…

Kathleen McMullen

Citizen, Voter, Reader. Critic of social exclusion practices and unequal justice.

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