A precarious life

Clay Lucas
Sydney Morning Herald

“Guy Standing is a professor of economic security at Britain’s Bath University. His 2011 book The Precariat: The New Dangerous Classoutlined his case for why an increasingly insecure workforce poses a threat to social stability.”

More Australians than ever can only find casual or non-permanent jobs that don’t offer any security. Are they what the economy needs or are they just being ripped off?

IT HAS been one hell of a year for Kathy Carra, and and she is wondering how it’s going to get better. In the past 12 months the 40-year-old Epping woman has had 40 jobs, mostly via recruitment and labour hire agencies she is registered with.

The longest lasted five months, the shortest just four hours. She usually earns about $16 to $20 an hour, working in manufacturing plants or warehousing. And, like millions of Australians stuck on a treadmill of low and fluctuating wages, no paid leave, and uncertain and unpredictable hours, her work is anything but secure.

Every day, Carra trawls the employment websites or a labour hire agency sends her to a job interview. She never questions the employment conditions offered. “If you question it, the answer is, ‘If you don’t like it, there’s the door’,” she says.

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