You may have noticed something humorous doing the rounds, it’s on Twitter and in the news. Jokes, cartoons and pictures are popping up mocking the story and making light of the headlines.
But there is something far darker and more unpleasant under this story, something that is not being noticed or reported. Something that is, I think, going un-noticed.
The headlines are funny, the story is funny, jokes abound.
But look beneath all that and you can see something that is symbolic of the New Britain.
Is there no one left in Britain who can make a sandwich?
Even Twitter has joined in the jokes with posts and pictures of people putting things between slices of bread and claiming to be making sandwiches, DVDs, a book, a bottle of wine or even a dog.
So funny, such a silly story.
But this is not funny, this is not a joke.
This is, in fact, a clear demonstration of the attitude of all too many of our companies and corporations. An attitude mirrored by all too many of our political class. Minimum wages, zero hours contracts, Humans reduced to Resources to be used or expended as the profit margin requires.
Firstly let us do a little research, something sadly lacking in the media.
The company has a web site, that web site has a section on vacancies and that page has a link to jobs in the new Northhampton factory. Go to the page and look at the first block of data on the left, a little way down. Look at the date this job advert was posted.
Greencore Recruitment Advert Northhampton.
Notice that date. How long ago was it. How long did this company take before deciding that the workers of Britain were too lazy to apply for their jobs and instead send managers to Eastern Europe to find workers.
Do you think that's a fair period of time to make such a decision. Did Greencore give British workers a chance to see the adverts, prepare a CV and pop it in the post. If someone saw the advert the day it came out, spent a day doing a nice CV and sent it in the mail second class it wouldn't have arrived before last Friday and yet the company has already decided that it cannot find local staff.
Did they think that this was enough time to receive applications online, go through them and decide that no worthy candidates were out there?
Secondly lets look at exactly when this job starts and when people will get paid.
Greencore's new factory in Northhampton is expected to be open in early 2016, staff will begin actual recruitment and training in late 2015. The company are looking to the future opening date and starting to get staff interested now.
So people who apply for these jobs will not be looking at actually starting that job or earning any money for about a year, maybe as little as ten months if they start training and production a little early.
What is the DWPs attitude toward this sort of thing, they can hardly stop unemployment benefits if you have a job that doesn't start paying you for a year. Or can they? Is anyone willing to take that risk?
How many people will apply for a job that doesn't start to pay them for a year while they are currently struggling to make ends meet on benefits (yes I mean struggling, people who do well out of benefits are a tiny number who are often cheating the system and who are magnified out of all proportion by the government and the media).
Who knows what they will be doing a year from now? Who is going to commit to something that far away when they gain no income from that commitment for a year?
Thirdly and something that was mentioned in the original Daily Mail article.
Greencore has decided that British workers are not prepared to work at their new Northhampton site and so are going to Hungary to recruit staff. No other country is mentioned, just Hungary.
Why not Poland which is a lot closer, what about countries in Western Europe with high unemployment like Spain or Greece.
Would it have anything to do with the comments about Hungary having one of the lowest average annual income levels in the EU? A yearly wage so low that working in the UK on a minimum wage would double it.
Oh and on top of that there are things like housing benefits and working tax credits. To quote the Mail (sorry), "These mean a migrant with no dependents on the minimum wage has their net income of about £184 a week boosted to £254, studies have suggested".
But don't British workers have an entitlement to the same benefits? They should do.
Or is it that British workers or Western European workers or Polish workers now that they have rights, know the laws that protect them from the most blatant exploration. Or that local staff have to pay rent and mortgages and look after their families at UK costs rather than sharing a house and sending money home to a far cheaper country where the family is.
The job add says spoken and written English is required so why go to a country with low levels of that language, there are more English speakers in Poland than in Hungary. Or is it that Polish workers have been in the UK long enough to resist being exploited.
Look at the number mentioned. A minimum wage of £184/week increased to an income of £254/week through benefits. That is a £70 a week payment from the UK tax payers, almost what is paid to an unemployed person on Job seekers allowance. They don't say how they calculate this sum but half of that is likely to be the working tax credit so the rest is, I assume housing benefit.
Another company that is exploiting its workers by paying them the lowest amount it can and expecting the UK's tax payers to make up the difference. Hardly something to boast about and yet these days it is something that most companies not only do but also have no qualms about doing.
So Greencore is having trouble finding people in the UK who are prepared to wait a year before they start getting paid the legal minimum for a job working shifts in a chilled warehouse and they are publicly complaining about the fact.
British Media is ignoring or has missed all of this and instead is focused on the funny headline and a lot of jokes about making sandwiches.
Just another day in Britain. Nothing to see here, move along.