Socialist Worker

The Troublemaker — UPS takes spy in the cab to a whole new exploitative level

Issue No. 2752

A UPS van

A UPS van (Pic: Open grid on Flickr)


A worker for delivery firm UPS has revealed a hellish new surveillance plan from bosses.

A member of Local 886 in the Teamsters union in the United States posted online, “Package car drivers are some of the most tracked and monitored people in the country.

“With the delivery of each bar-coded package, we let our customers know where we are and where their package was left.

“Beyond that though, UPS vehicles are full of reporting hardware.

“This system reports our vehicle location, how many times we back up, and little things like the time between when we kill the ignition and the door opening.

“We’re even instructed on which pocket to keep a pen in." But much more is coming.

A depot in Oklahoma City is part of a test run by the company to install audio and video surveillance inside our cabin. Driver-facing cameras will “shoot high definition video and use artificial ­intelligence to track and analyse drivers’ movements—from taking a drink, to yawning, to scratching our faces.

“These cameras are a ruthless measure designed to squeeze more productivity from their employees.

“Many of us have been forced into mandatory overtime because of the surge of covid-related deliveries.

“Workers at UPS are often forced into driving to the government-mandated cutoff of 60 hours a week.

“People are exhausted and the company keeps demanding more and more.

“The technology isn’t just about tracking us and questioning our bathroom breaks.

“It’s also an opportunity for UPS to undermine the Teamsters Union, which represents the majority of its labour force.”


Robinson says he is not racist

Tommy Robinson, the founder of the English Defence League, told the High Court last week he is “not racist”.

He is fighting a libel claim brought against him by a Syrian teenager.

Jamal Hijazi was filmed being attacked at his Huddersfield school in October 2018.

Robinson claimed Jamal was “not innocent and he violently attacks young English girls in his school”.

Meanwhile, the New York Times newspaper has published a long investigation into Robinson.

It confirms many of the items in Socialist Worker’s dossier from 2019.

It adds some detail on who paid for Robinson’s London rallies in 2018.

It says, “Robert Shillman, a wealthy Trump supporter, was a Middle East Forum donor, though he declined to disclose who paid for the rally. But a person involved in organising it, said Mr Shillman, the chief executive of the technology company Cognex Corp., was a major funder of the rally. Middle East Forum internal communications also describe Mr Shillman’s involvement in funding for Mr Robinson.

“Mr Shillman has previously been publicly identified as funding another project with Mr Robinson.

“Mr Robinson said he had never spoken to Mr Shillman but wished he had been able to thank him for ‘all his shekels,’ a reference to the Israeli currency that is also a turn of phrase sometimes favoured by antisemitic conspiracy theorists.


PPE scam emails

Readers may recall Ayanda Capital, a private family fund whose consultant, Andrew Mills, simultaneously served as an adviser to Liz Truss and helped broker a bungled £252 million PPE deal.

The government bought but didn’t use 50 million unsafe face masks. Mills signed off his emails with a signature bearing the words, “Adviser to UK Board of Trade”. Subtle?

An unnamed civil servant explained, “Can we expedite this one please? It’s a big opportunity and we are close to losing it.

“Our contact has close ties so wouldn’t be a good outcome.” How much Mills made from us is unknown.


  • Labour’s candidate in the Hartlepool by-election has plumbed new depths in pandering to the right. Presumably to show his “patriotic” credentials, Dr Paul Williams’ team distributed leaflets for St George’s day. They were made up almost entirely of the St George’s cross beloved by various racist and far right groups.

Williams tweeted, “Happy St. George’s Day to everyone in Hartlepool! I hope you have a great day and let me know if you pop one of these up in your window.”

  • Lords a’leeching. You will be relieved to learn that it has been confirmed that members of the House of Lords can claim £162 for making a video call tribute to prince Philip.

Sitting at home and spouting sycophantic guff qualifies for the Lords “attendance allowance” payment.


Tinker, tailor soldier, Labour spy?

Someone at the Daily Mail newspaper has been reading a bit too much Le Carre. There is a mole at the heart of government.

The headline in a recent article was “Hunt for Labour’s No 10 moles taking revenge on Boris for Cummings’ war on Whitehall chiefs”.

The fiction, sorry article, said, “The moles— Labour-sympathising civil servants—are believed to have played a key role in triggering the lobbying scandal which has allowed Sir Keir’s party to construct a narrative of ‘Tory sleaze’ by leaking details of David Cameron’s contacts with ministers and officials.

“They are also suspected of using leaks to try to ‘sabotage’ the Brexit withdrawal negotiations last year, and to provide advance notice to the Labour leader about government policies —giving him time to structure his responses.”

That would explain why Starmer is doing so well. “The Tory spy‑hunters believe a ‘cell’ of Labour supporters, centred on the Cabinet Office, was activated last year.” An “activated cell”! It’s time to play by Eton rules.


Mail demands British jobs for British dogs

Dilyn, the mischievous Tory Jack Russell cross adopted by Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds in 2019, will be played by an Italian dog called Marco in a forthcoming TV drama.

As a “source” who wasn’t made up by the Daily Mail put it, “You’d have thought there would be a lookalike for Dilyn a little bit closer to home.

“Surely it should have been a British dog playing him?”

Among his alleged misdeeds, Dilyn has been accused of cocking his leg over the handbag of a departing Downing Street aide, gnawing antiques at Chequers and taking an unfortunate amorous interest in the leg of Dominic Cummings.

That the nation’s top dog could be played by a foreigner is the final sign of the decline of empire or Britain going to the dogs or something.


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