|A still from Ken Loach's Bread and Roses (2000)|
Today’s post will be in English only because it deals with a sad British reality which came to my knowledge through an article by Fran Abrams in today’s Guardian: “
’s cleaners do the dirtiest jobs.” Abrams
went undercover as a cleaner and she describes the dire working conditions of
the female immigrants–most cleaners are–she worked with (no living wage, unpaid
compulsory overtime, etc.). Uncertain immigration status for some, and lack of
fluency in English, make it impossible for them to unionise, especially as
they don’t all speak the same language. I have little doubt that the same is
true elsewhere in Britain Europe.
The article reminded me of Ken Loach’s Bread and Roses, a 2000 film set in
describing exactly the same
situation. I’m sure those who have seen the film
still remember the first meeting between the young Mexican janitor and the
Adrian Brody character popping out of a bin like a Jack-in-the-box. L. A.
Abrams’s article also reminded me of French journalist Florence Aubenas’s undercover report as an unqualified worker in the North of France. Her book is called Le Quai de Ouistreham (2010) and it is investigative journalism at its best. She also ended up as a cleaner on a ferry between France and Britain. One of her fellow workers said to her: ‘you’ll see, when you’re a cleaner you will be invisible.’