Precarious work the ‘new normal’ January 24, 2014 According to the Director of Murdoch University’s Asia Research Centre, the global trend towards insecure, short-term employment is the new status quo, making addressing the challenges it produces vital. Professor Kevin Hewison said precarious work was at the heart of an ongoing international research project across 10 countries, exploring its form, prevalence and effects. “Precarious work is increasingly common and is expanding on a global scale, replacing what has long been regarded as standard employment,” Professor Hewison said. “This expansion is associated with social, economic and political changes that have operated for several decades as production has also been globalised. “Greater capital mobility and heightened international competition has led to unrelenting pressure on prices, which results in buyers continually looking for new producers who offer lower costs, including for labour. “Employers and government have been forced to become more competitive to attract and maintain investment, and they have done this in part by limiting or reducing the permanent workforce and maximising employee flexibility. “Global production chains effectively demand that countries compete for investment and that workers compete for jobs on a global basis.” The precarious work project has held forums in the USA, South Korea and Taiwan and is currently looking at how governments, NGOs and unions are dealing with change and how they might restore a balance between capital and labour. Professor Hewison said workers in Asia were increasingly turning to government to improve the social security net, and said flexible, portable support such as superannuation, social welfare and universal health coverage were for protecting workers under the new model. “Businesses and governments need to work together to make work less precarious, which involves employment benefits that go with the job, not tied to a company,” he said. “We’ve seen superannuation-like schemes being introduced in middle-income economies like Thailand, with even independent vendors such as hawkers able to have contributions matched by the government. “We know that superannuation has been a successful policy in Australia, where trends such as the boom in FIFO work can be viewed as precarious.” Professor Hewison said precarious work was very much the new normal in the US, where a number of companies urged attention to universal healthcare to improve competitiveness and remove the heavy burdens of healthcare responsibilities from their books. He said supporting workers was a necessity, noting that unaddressed issues of insecurity lead to family and social issues, problems related to stress and potentially political instability. “The anxiety, anger and alienation of uncertainty can be harnessed by different groups for various ends, not all of them progressive,” he said. The precarious world project includes academics from Murdoch, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Academia Sinica (Taiwan), The University of the Philippines, Chung-Ang University (Korea), the Japan Women’s University and others. To read more, go here or here. Print This Post Media contact: Rob Payne Tel: (08) 9360-2491 | Mobile: | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Categories: Teaching and Learning, Future Students, Domestic students, Research, Schools, Asia Research Centre Research, Asian studies, political science and social sciences, International, School of Management and Governance Tags: FIFO, asia research centre, globalisation, kevin hewison, precariat, precarious work, south korea, superannuation, taiwan, thailand, usa Leave a comment Name (required) Mail (will not be published) (required) Website You can use these tags : <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> We read every comment and will make every effort to approve each new comment within one working day. To ensure speedy posting, please keep your comments relevant to the topic of discussion, free of inappropriate language and in-line with the editorial integrity of this newsroom. If not, your comments may not be published. Thanks for commenting!