RARE - Minimum wage jobs


Czech journalist Saša Uhlová has gone undercover to work in the laundry room of a hospital, in a poultry processing plant, as a cashier in a supermarket chain, in a factory producing electric razors, and in a waste sorting plant. She recorded her experiences using a hidden camera and kept a journal of her time on the job.

The website a2larm.cz has now launched the first of her series of reportages about such jobs, which have minimum-wage level remuneration in common. The journalist is planning a book about her experiences and in October public broadcaster Czech Television will present a documentary film about this by Apolena Rychlíková in its "Czech Journal" program called "The Limits of Labor" (Hranice práce).

"In recent years various people have told me many stories about what they experience at their jobs. They have described receiving little pay for their labor, being forced to work overtime, having to go to work when ill, and how difficult their working conditions are. Whenever I asked whether I could quote them in what I write, they did not want to be quoted. They were afraid. A reportage full of people who are all anonymous does not seem believable. I comprehended that the only way to describe the working conditions in poorly paid jobs was to become such a worker myself. My plan, thanks to the editors at Alarm and the Fund for Independent Journalism, became a reality this year," Uhlová writes in her opening commentary on the series of reportages.

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