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ON a visit to the Yorkshire seaside town of Scarborough Morning Star photographer Neil Terry took photos of donkeys giving rides to children on the beach.
“I found out that their working conditions are better than those for human workers,” he said.
“There are regulations saying they have to have an hour-long lunch break, that they have to have appropriate and comfortable accommodation, and are given an annual health check to make sure they are fit enough to work.”
Regulations also say that when donkeys are too old to work they must be retired to donkey sanctuaries where they can roam freely, are well fed and housed in decent accommodation.
Human workers are entitled to a break of only 20 minutes in a six-hour shift, and there are no guarantees that they will have good food, comfortable accommodation and a pleasant retirement.
Unions have produced evidence that even families with one person working are being forced to use foodbanks because of poverty pay.
Neil Derrick, Yorkshire and North Derbyshire regional secretary of general union GMB, which has members at the notorious Asos retail warehouse outside Barnsley, said: “What a sad indictment of the state of Britain’s employment laws to find that working animals can rely on greater regulatory protection than people working in the ‘gig economy’ with all the insecurity that brings.
“Workers in Asos, Sports Direct, Amazon and the like in the warehouse sector that have become the economy’s new ‘dark satanic mills’ cannot rely on the law to provide a fair working environment any more than they can rely on their employer to provide one.
“Asos workers are set such punishing targets that they are literally dropping from exhaustion and an ambulance is called to the Barnsley site once a week. They are disciplined if they miss their targets and on average we represent workers on such charges four times a week. The stress levels are through the roof as a consequence.
“We have said that the workers are being treated like animals. Perhaps we were wrong — it’s worse than that.”
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