Thursday, May 11, 2017

Those Controlling the Technology and Those Carrying Out the Tasks...,

opendemocracy |  Vulnerable employment, with workers experiencing high levels of precariousness, is a global phenomenon. The ILO projects global growth in vulnerable forms of employment to grow by 11 million a year. The impacts of this are being felt across developed, emerging and developing countries.

In the UK, much concern about the changing labour market has been framed in terms of the shift in risk that has occurred between employers and individuals. The gig economy is often used to epitomise the imbalance in power between those controlling the technology, and those carrying out the tasks: 

However, this shift of risk reaches far beyond Uber drivers and millennials on bicycles. It can be seen in the use of contracted, agency and temporary staff and in the unpredictability of zero and minimum hours contracts of those working for supermarkets, in warehouses, in social care and in universities. 

The impact of this on people’s lives is exacerbated by a parallel transfer of risk in the systems set up to support those who are unemployed or in low paid work. At the same time as work has become less predictable, the safety net has become less springy and with bigger holes. 

This shift can be seen in cuts to social security, in the changes and increasing conditionality that universal credit brings, in the way jobs are measured and impact on poverty is not. It is seen in adult learning and the introduction of adult learner loans. It is also seen in a childcare sector that does not have the capacity to offer care to those with unpredictable or non-standard hours, even though those are the jobs increasingly likely to be available for those on low pay.