Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Working for the Man

While Covid19 has given us pause to think about how we go about our lives, it’s also hammered home pre-existing vulnerabilities in our society. One of the vulnerabilities exposed is the increased casualisation of our work force over the last two decades. The recent ‘work from home’ phenomena mostly applied to white collar, full-time employees, not those in casual hospitality, agriculture and or academia. So that’s cool. But not cool for the rest of us.

I’ve worked for ten years in the academic sphere as a casual employee. Last year, I turned up to teach the day after I broke a few ribs, because I had no sick leave and could not afford to pay another tutor to take my class. Life as a highly skilled, casual academic can be, in the words of a New Holland interloper, ‘nasty, brutish and short.’

The era of the ‘precariat’, where young people are being forced into a precarious casual work force, where their hours change every week, where they are ineligible for sick pay, compassionate leave etc and are always unsure of how they will pay their rent; they are being told how lucky they are … because their workplace is um  flexible.

The recent commentary by politicians and employers (who have taken advantage of this system for years) is that Jobkeeper and Jobseeker are now stymying their efforts to reopen, and that potential staff are enjoying the dole way too much to apply for a job. 

I cannot call bullsh*t on this argument enough.

Perhaps it is time to look at how government and business alike treat their casual workforce. A small business in a small town, for example, could give one employee permanent part time status, thus giving them security and a living wage that they could depend upon. What could result is a place of dignity and respect when it comes to our relationships between boss and employee. Is this a leap to Marxist? Doubt it. It’s just doing the right thing.

 

9 comments:

  1. My step-daughter mumbled a slight criticism about her working conditions a long time before Covid, and was told by head office: 'Think yourself lucky you have a job at all'. I have no other words to express my disgust at their transparent exploitation of a dire situation for the people who make their money other than CUNTS!.

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    1. Yes, it's often the people exploiting casual labour that complain about bludgers. Irony not.

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  2. This is our Australia today,the erosion of our hard won working conditions started a long time before this covid pandemic time. It shows just how much value is put on people v money by this government.

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    1. It's amazing seeing the narrative change over the last decade.

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  3. I know where you are coming from Sarah because as you know I am also a casual - 4 years as a lecturer in a government intistution on 4 week rolling contracts. However I do think JobSeeker is actually discouraging people from going back to work, BUT not because they are lazy. It's because their usual jobs don't provide enough hours to pay the bills and tenure is intermittent and insecure. Who can blame them for choosing a regular income that provides them with a decent life!

    What really fucks me off about the whole government 'rescue' package is the blatant focus on male dominated industries and business. They have completely fucked over the arts and academics - sectors you and I both operate in. As Kerryn Phelps said on 'The Drum' last night - it's pretty obvious the government doesn't want to support anyone who has ideas about anything. They are luddites and sexist as well.

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    1. It's no good to hold a mirror up to society or government. It's something that terrifies them, so slash funding to them and drill for more gas. plus tax breaks for rich people. Bah!
      I saw that story about the WA govt stimulus package. The only women in a sea of tradies were packing strawberries.

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    2. Sarah, we need a 'grrrrrr......' bared-teeth emoji. I see we now have one wearing a mask lol.

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  4. The notion that people receiving the seeker supplement are not inclined to look for work is a furphy. Of course there is the odd exception here and there, that is a human norm across all of society. Grifters are grifters and found everywhere. But, at least the media in general, is not overly stressing the point of view, which is refreshing considering the vested interests of the moguls in charge. I am alone at my local bowling club, of being aware of alternate sources of truthful, unbiased news. I am thoroughly disheartened that these same bowling clubmates have also been brainwashed into believing the ABC is overly leftist. These same people that rely on it for there farm business' thriving from the info received.
    Rant over. Thanks for the space.

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