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by Editors — last modified Nov 16, 2014 01:32 PM
Contributors: Faiz Ahmed, JBB, Graham H. Cox, R. Dubois, JA Cox

Precarious work tops agenda as reports highlight long-term risks | What's Left

by Editors (What's Left) last modified May 27, 2015 06:31 PM
The conclusions of a flury of reports on precarious work released this week in Ontario couldn't be clearer: as precarious works becomes more prevalent, inequality grows.

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First, Poverty and Employment in Southern Ontario (PEPSO), in conjunction with researchers at MacMaster University, and funded by the United Way Toronto, released The Precarity Penalty. Second, a report was released by the United Way Toronto and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows that youth getting trapped in precarious work has a negative impact on economic growth.

As more and more people seek to explain the causes of rising inequality in advanced capitalist countries, the focus has turned to precarious work as a major contributing factor. There are two ways to explain the rise of precarious work, the first being as part of the collapse of the industrial manufacturing sector resulting from liberalization of international trade (and reduced tariff-protected jobs). The artificially maintained difference in exchange rates between countries and the four decades long neoliberal monetary policy prioritizing finance capital and consumption over production has helped to maintain this situation.

The second reason for the rise in precarious work is the growth of human service sectors. As the overall population ages, and as services once provided by the public sector become casualized and privatized, the jobs themselves become more fragmented. When high-skilled and/or large industrial work in Canada gets replaced with lower-skill and informal work environments, there is increased competition for jobs and an increase in exploitative practices because protections for precarious workers are limited.

The gendered history of part-time work is of great importance when understanding the entrenched attitudes towards temporary work. Temporary agencies rose in prominence in the 1950s attempting to sell employers the a more flexible workforce and increased profits. However, to get around the push-back from male-dominated unions who were opposed to their jobs being undermined, the agencies targeted middle-class women who were not considered a threat to male-dominated full-time jobs. This marketing history of Never-Never Girls explains part of the reason that it took until the 2000's for Canada to pass legislation partially regulating precarious work.

The economic impacts are also concerning as precarious workers are less likely to spend their earnings because of the perceived risk of losing their job. Precarious workers are also less likely to have retirement savings. Needless to say, the long-term economic implications of precarious work is an increased strain on social service programs.

More: The Precarity Penalty

More: Precarious jobs holding back young workers, OECD finds

More: Never Never Girls

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The gig-economy: Uber good or Uber bad? | CLC

by Graham H. Cox last modified May 27, 2015 09:38 AM
"Consumers believe Uber gives them choice between regulated taxi cab companies and other forms of transportation. Drivers for Uber see opportunities for flexible and independent jobs. Sounds good: cheaper and more readily available transportation with a no-fuss app on your phone and flexible work for drivers. But there is a caveat. And this is why the labour movement is involved. Beyond the obvious concerns for public safety and accessibility, it’s also part of a much broader debate around rising precarious employment and how to protect labour standards under new trends of non-standard working conditions, the growth of the service sector, and technological change. "

The link address is: http://canadianlabour.ca/issues-research/gig-economy-uber-good-or-uber-bad

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Parables of privatization: a cautionary tale of two telcos | Economy at Work

by Graham H. Cox last modified May 27, 2015 09:34 AM
"There’s an excellent example right here in Canada of two neighbouring jurisdictions of a similar size, one of which privatized a utility and the other that kept its similar utility under public ownership. It should be seen as a cautionary tale and an indication of what is likely to happen with other privatizations. That example is the telecom companies of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. "

The link address is: http://economyatwork.ca/2015/05/25/a-cautionary-tale-of-two-telcos-one-publicly-owned-and-one-privatized/

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Conservative CPP scheme an ineffective half-measure, offers little for Canadian workers | CUPE

by Graham H. Cox last modified May 27, 2015 07:32 AM
The Conservatives’ announced planned consultations on allowing for voluntary individual contributions to the Canada Pension Plan will not lead to any real help for workers worried about having a secure retirement income, says Canada’s largest union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees. “Another ineffective voluntary retirement saving scheme is not a solution for the over 11 million Canadians without a workplace pension,” says Paul Moist, national president of CUPE. “The Conservatives’ scheme is nothing more than an election sideshow, meant to distract Canadians from what is really needed – a doubling of CPP benefits through modest, but mandatory increases in the contributions paid by both workers and employers.”

The link address is: http://cupe.ca/conservative-cpp-scheme-ineffective-half-measure-offers-little-canadian-workers

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Union Boss Says There Is No “Unions’ Candidate” In Labour’s Leadership Contest | BuzzFeed

by Faiz Ahmed last modified May 26, 2015 10:49 AM
"Ex-leader Ed Miliband was elected under a complex three-way system, with one third weight given to votes from Labour MPs and MEPs, one third to individual Labour members and one third to trade union and affiliated societies. He won in 2010 largely thanks to the unions. But he overhauled the system in 2014 to make sure future leadership candidates were elected under a “one member, one vote” rule that means union members will have to register as Labour supporters to vote."

The link address is: http://www.buzzfeed.com/emilyashton/unions-candidate-what-unions-candidate

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Africa as Battlefield

by JBB last modified May 23, 2015 11:10 AM
The US is trying to win “hearts and minds” in Africa. It’s not going well. | by Nick Turse | Jacobin

The link address is: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/05/africom-africa-counterinsurgency-army/

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A Plea for Culinary Modernism

by JBB last modified May 23, 2015 11:09 AM
Rachel Laudan | Jacobin | The obsession with eating natural and artisanal is ahistorical. We should demand more high-quality industrial food.

The link address is: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/05/slow-food-artisanal-natural-preservatives/

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Europe faces second revolt as Portugal's ascendant Socialists spurn austerity

by JBB last modified May 23, 2015 10:59 AM
Germany is worried that any concession to Greece will set off political contagion and cause fiscal discipline to collapse across southern Europe | By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard | The Telegraph

The link address is: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11616002/Europe-faces-second-revolt-as-Portugals-ascendant-Socialists-spurn-austerity.html

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Socialist Economist Dimitris Kazakis: Syriza Has No Plan B

by JBB last modified May 23, 2015 10:57 AM
By Joshua Tartakovsky, Truthout | Interview

The link address is: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/30852

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