3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Good, But Majorly Left Out The Private Sector,
This review is from: Hard Work: Life in Low-pay Britain (Paperback)
Having worked a number of minimum wage jobs in London, and being truly shocked at antics like employers cancelling the next day's shift at 9pm the previous night without pay, I can confirm that Polly Toynbee's experiences are truthful, and labour reform and the minimum wage need to be drastically overhauled.
I did a lot of temping work in Australia too, and there the minimum wage is a living wage, and more importantly, I was never paid that low - I generally got one-and-a-half to twice the minimum wage. Certainly nobody tried to rip me off, which repeatedly happened in London.
Toynbee did focus far too much on the public sector and caring industries: schools, hospitals etc. and her experiences in a telesales office and cake factory are about the only time the private sector are mentioned - but it's the private sector that sets the tone for minimum wage and labour laws in a country. Maybe Toynbee can do a sequel, focusing exclusively on the private sector?
An American did a similar experiment in "Nickeled and Dimed", and that is also very good - however bad Britain is at this, the U.S.A is much worse!