A new report launched today by Counter Balance, a Brussels NGO, reveals the negative impacts of mega infrastructure corridors, tax-free zones and just-in-time delivery systems on workers, their rights and the environment.

The report, “Corridors as factories: supply chains, logistics and labour, is this the world you want?” probes how 'logistics' – now a $4.7 trillion industry, said to be the world’s largest employer – is reshaping global production, distribution and consumption.

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“The implications for labour are profound”, says the report’s author Nick Hildyard of The Corner House, a UK research and advocacy group. “Automation in combination with just-in-time ‘logistics’ regimes are subjecting workers to degrading just-in-time labour practices. More work is now contingent piece work; workers are increasingly subjected to electronic monitoring; work is increasingly degraded; and new forms of unpaid labour are proliferating, particularly online.”

Logistics increasingly dictates how production is organised and where new infrastructure corridors are being built. The direction of travel is towards increased exploitation of workers; new forms of corporate control; an ineluctable increase in energy use; and spiralling environmental destruction, not least through the proliferation of new “logistics hubs” and interconnecting corridors.

Xavier Sol, Director at Counter Balance: “Our report shows that the new paradigm of ‘logistics’ is not sustainable. Both from an environmental as well as from a labour rights point of view. Extreme surveillance measures, inhumane working hours and precarious employment circumstances effectively leads to a race to the bottom. A race where massive companies like Amazon hold a firm grasp on all aspects of the production to delivery chain, while the rights of labourers are dismantled one hub at a time.”

2020 Logistics report title page

Corridors as factories: supply chains, logistics and labour

Download the report

You can download the Spanish version of this report here.