Slave ships and supermarkets: Modern day slavery in Thailand

[Representatives of capital, and of modern capitalist-imperialism, have often claimed that their exploitative system has been a civilizing force, promoting and spreading democratic rights along with social and economic development wherever it has gone throughout the world.  These claims could not be further from the truth, as these masters of global plunder of human and all natural resources continue to force marginalized and desperately migrating peoples–peasants and proletarians alike–into the most dangerous conditions of slavery, enforced by the repressive regimes and the enslaving corporations they serve.  The following exposure by The Guardian exposes one aspect of this malevolent and highly profitable system, which then offers the inexpensive and tasty shrimp/prawn delicacies to unaware and/or uncaring consumers in imperialist countries. — Frontlines ed.]

By Kate Hodal, Chris Kelly, Felicity Lawrence, www.theguardian.com

June 12th, 2014

Slaves forced to work for no pay for years at a time under threat of extreme violence are being used in Asia in the production of seafood sold by major US, British and other European retailers, the Guardian can reveal.

A six-month investigation has established that large numbers of men bought and sold like animals and held against their will on fishing boats off Thailand are integral to the production of prawns (commonly called shrimp in the US) sold in leading supermarkets around the world, including the top four global retailers: Walmart, Carrefour, Costco and Tesco.

The investigation found that the world’s largest prawn farmer, the Thailand-based Charoen Pokphand (CP) Foods, buys fishmeal, which it feeds to its farmed prawns, from some suppliers that own, operate or buy from fishing boats manned with slaves.

Men who have managed to escape from boats supplying CP Foods and other companies like it told the Guardian of horrific conditions, including 20-hour shifts, regular beatings, torture and execution-style killings. Some were at sea for years; some were regularly offered methamphetamines to keep them going. Some had seen fellow slaves murdered in front of them. Continue reading

Technology of Exploitation: Intensifying Workers’ Heartrates to Maximize Capitalist Profits

Tesco accused of using electronic armbands to monitor its staff

Supermarket grades employees on efficiency and can reprimand them for breaks, says ex-worker

Kevin Rawlinson Author Biography, The Independent, Wednesday 13 February 2013

Tesco workers are being made to wear electronic armbands that managers can use to grade how hard they are working.

A former staff member has claimed employees are given marks based on how efficiently they work in a bid to improve productivity and can be called in front of management if they take unscheduled toilet breaks.

The armbands are worn by warehouse staff and forklift drivers, who use them to scan the stock they collect from supermarket distribution points and send it out for delivery. Tesco said the armbands are used to improve efficiency and save its staff from having to carry around pens and paper to keep track of deliveries. But the device is also being used to keep an eye on employees’ work rates, the ex-staff member said.

The former employee said the device provided an order to collect from the warehouse and a set amount of time to complete it. If workers met that target, they were awarded a 100 per cent score, but that would rise to 200 per cent if they worked twice as quickly. The score would fall if they did not meet the target. Continue reading

Spanish police arrest 5 union members over ‘Robin Hood’ supermarket looting

By Associated Press, August 10, 2012

MADRID — Spanish police have arrested seven left-wing union activists for their alleged role in a “Robin Hood”-style looting of a supermarket made to highlight the plight of people suffering through the country’s recession.A handful of activists from the southern Andalusian Workers’ Union made off with nine trolleys full of food from the supermarket in the southern town of Ecija and left without paying on Tuesday. They later gave the food to poor, unemployed people.

Sanchez Gordillo has boasted that his town has full employment thanks to the farm cooperatives his office has established for the jobless.

Police said one person was arrested during an eviction Friday of union members who were squatting on Defense Ministry land near Ecija that is lying fallow to demand it be given to hard-pressed farmers.

Four others were arrested elsewhere Friday, and two Thursday, although all but two have been released on bail pending legal action.