BBC3 Life And Death In The Warehouse review: Drama delivers shocking home truths of some working conditions today

Long hours, high pressure and low pay might be the reality of many jobs but a gritty one-off BBC Three factual drama filmed in Wales will have shocked many viewers from the start.

Created by Joseph Bullman, Life And Death In The Warehouse drew on years of research, of speaking to anonymous warehouse workers, and pulled no punches as it portrayed life in the high-pressure warehouse environment.

And the opening scene was both shocking and distressing as you saw a worker suffering a miscarriage while at work.

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Life and Death In The Warehouse focused on how ever-increasing consumer demand can create a horrendous working environment for those in warehouses as bosses focus on a worker’s ‘pick rate’ – how many items they can collect during a shift.

After the distressing opening scene, viewers saw how Alys (Poppy Lee Friar), the pregnant worker, was not allowed any more sick days, not allowed to go home early on the day of the miscarriage and was constantly monitored.

Alys’s ‘pick rate’ fell below the expected target of 120 picks an hour when she became pregnant and she was physically unable to meet the very demanding targets.

While Alys asked her friend and manager Megan (an emotional performance by Peaky Blinders actress Aimee-Ffion Edwards) to swap her to the less physically demanding packaging department, her plea was refused as it would have meant spending money to retrain her.

Instead she was pushed well beyond her physical limits as the managers relentlessly pushed her to meet her targets with Megan even suggesting she run rather than walk with the pick-up trolley.

Alys is put under constant pressure by her manager Megan despite being pregnant

Despite her being pregnant, the amount of time Alys spent in the toilet was measured, with Alys criticised for taking 11 minutes and other members of staff weeing into bottles on the warehouse floor instead of going to the bathroom to avoid taking longer toilet breaks.

Megan was also criticised for calling an ambulance when a few weeks before her miscarriage Alys collapsed as calling an ambulance was deemed to make the company look bad.

After Alys’ miscarriage, she and her other team members who witnessed the miscarriage, were offered money and to sign a non-disclosure agreement to never speak about the miscarriage. If they didn’t agree to sign the non-disclosure agreement they would lose their jobs.

In a very emotional scene Alys decided to sign the non-disclosure agreement as she reasoned there were no other jobs in her local area.

The hard-hitting drama also showed employees not being encouraged to join a trade union and some team members who were so tired as they tried to reach their near-impossible targets that they resorted to using energy drinks.

While Life and Death In The Warehouse is a drama, made primarily for entertainment, the fact that it drew upon real life experiences highlights is a shocking eye-opener to what can go on in the workplace.

A well written and acted piece of drama that will leave a bitter taste in your mouth long after switching off.

Life and Death In The Warehouse is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

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