Swedish books, oh how much I have missed you, your interesting and fearlessly chosen topics!
I’ve decided to follow up on the social issues, this time in Europe. In her book De osynliga. Om Europas fattiga arbetarklass (The Invisible. About Europe’s poor working class), journalist Rebecka Bohlin talks about people working in the service sector, those invisible powers running our everyday’s satisfaction in various cases.
She speaks with people from Sweden, UK and Germany, with those who must have up to 3 different jobs to be able to pay all bills. They are migrants, and not surprisingly, mostly women. Their situation seems to be the worst, as they are coming from ”poor“ countries, and therefore almost any job is considered “good enough“. Their wages are low, working hours long, possibilities limited. Not to mention frequent, offensive sex requests to housekeepers from their one-time employers.
Bohlin travels around Europe, compares data from different European countries, and by talking to both workers and labour representatives, is trying to find out how to address such situations, and who should be responsible for so needed changes.
This book speaks about important issues. If a breadwinner must take working shifts, spend hours per day by commuting, is working 6 days a week, often around 10 hours, and just get enough money to survive, what got wrong? If it’s possible to work under such circumstances, do these people feel secured in their lives? Not much. It’s not easy to be – unfortunately a large number of low-wage workers doesn’t have paid sick days, vacation days and can be fired without any fair reason.
People in these positions either don’t know their rights, or don’t have the courage to speak up for themselves. “There are many others waiting for your opportunity“ doesn’t have to be a hidden threat. But does someone really want work like this? Low-wage workers miss among other things own free and family time, but what more; they are paying the highest price – their health.
I wish De osynliga. Om Europas fattiga arbetarklass (The Invisible. About Europe’s poor working class) is translated into more languages. Because although it was relased four years ago, its relevance is still the same, if not higher.