Most people in Barnsley know someone who has worked at Asos some point. But for anyone who doesnt know what ASOS is. Its an online clothes retailer. One of the biggest in the country. It has a huge warehouse at park springs Grimethorpe which is the former site of a colliery.
A group of Reds fans working at Asos have made this contribution to the fanzine with the intention of highlighting some of the myths flying around at the minute. The first myth we would like to dispel is that jobs in the mining industry have been replaced by modern clean jobs in distribution and telemarketing. The second myth we would like to dispel is that migrant workers are coming to the UK get treated better than British workers and many of them are only here to leach off the benefit system,
We are certain that we have no need to explain to any readers of this fanzine that the decline of our town was triggered by the destruction of the mining industry and the defeat of the miners in the 1984-1985 miners strike.
We are sure that everyone will understand that the Thatcher Government of the time needed to destroy the national union of mine workers, in order to defeat all opposition to selling off public assets Like Gas, Electricity, Railways ect to rich financiers from the city of London and beyond.
The miners predicted that closing the mining industry and removing millions of pounds in wages from our communities would devastate our communities and lead to poverty and deprivation. The miners where right,
Working as a miner was a tough job Generations of men and communities had fought to improve conditions in the mining industry, through strike action and collective action.
The people of our communities had progressed our situation from a situation where children where forced to work and die in the industry to a situation where Health and safety was important, conditions vastly improved and by the 1980s had improved wages to the position where wages where high enough for one wage to support an entire family. wages in the mining industry where relatively high in comparison to jobs with the same level of skills.
Our Villages where vibrant communities. With thriving pub and club cultures. Many of our communities had champion sports clubs renowned music and theatrical groups many based around the welfare clubs set up to support miners and their families in times of need.
In contrast today we see our communities suffering from Low incomes unemployment and poverty, as a result of employers like Asos paying as little as possible in wages.
The miners enjoyed good unionised jobs. These jobs where the glue which held our communities together.
30 years after the heroic struggle of 84-85.
We suffer Zero hour contracts.
Workers at Asos are being Shafted on so many fronts WSB doesnt have the space to discus it.
This causes all sorts of problems especially for those with families and debt.
The Agency has offices in Romania and Poland they advertise for workers to come to england where they are promised high wages good living conditions with quick progression into full time contracts with the Logistics company who run the Asos site.
Peak periods of work around Christmas sees thousands of workers shipped in from all over on the promise of permanent jobs. The Agency knows full well that in 6-8 weeks it will need to sack these workers as Asos will no longer require them. Leaving many migrant workers destitute with no way of getting home forcing migrants to apply for benefits. The agency and Asos take no responsibility for their actions at all. leaving local people to see job centres with migrants in a sign they are here for benefits when actually nothing is further from the truth.
Many of the migrant workers we work with are highly skilled people many with university education. Coming to England to make a better life for themselves and family after spending time at home unable to find work.
We are of the opinion that these workers are the same as British workers and our interests are the same.
Working at Asos itself is hard monotonous work the smell and dust from cardboard is everywhere.
There are two main jobs in the ware house.
Cant even have a shit.
They change our shift patterns and hours of work to suit themselves and there is nothing we can do about.
We have no power.