Fran Abrams: Below the Breadline: Living on the Minimum Wage London: Profile Books, 2002, £6.99 pbk (ISBN: 1 86197 471 X), 184 pp.
Fran Abrams in ‘Below the Breadline: Living on the Minimum Wage’, is an account of life on low wages in Britain, based on three months spent doing menial work – cleaning, packing, ancillary care – in London, Yorkshire and Scotland; it was published in 2002. Fran Abrams is a reporter working ‘undercover’ as a cleaner, scouring urinals on her knees in a London hotel, for £3.43 an hour. One month on and she is stacking boxes of bottled chutney onto pallets in a factory, at £3.83 an hour. Next she’s a care-assistant in an old people’s home, this time on £3.92 an hour, her best wage yet.