Tuesday, September 29, 2015

"A flexible workforce needs an expanded management bureaucracy to oversee it."

Word lovers: Welcome to the "precariat."

In sociology and economics, the precariat is a social class formed by people suffering from precarity, which is a condition of existence without predictability or security, affecting material or psychological welfare as well as being a member of a proletariat class of industrial workers who lack their own means of production and hence sell their labour to live. Specifically, it is applied to the condition of lack of job security, in other words intermittent employment or underemployment and the resultant precarious existence. The emergence of this class has been ascribed to the entrenchment of neoliberal capitalism.

Referencing the USSR, eh?

The era of cheap labour is over, by Paul Mason (The Guardian)

 ... The assertion that job security kills innovation is etched deep into the free-market mindset. The pursuit of flexible labour markets has, for the past 30 years, made it easy for bosses to hire and fire; and harder for workers to demand both higher wages and the higher security that comes with them. The zero-hours contract has become the symbol of this culture, but there is worse. Unions trying to organise precarious workers report many businesses where there is no contract at all. Temporary work, part-time work, contracts that guarantee just four hours work a week are all common in the low-pay sector.

The result is the precariat. A broad layer numbering in some countries 25% of the workforce, whose contracts are either temporary or informal, or who arrive via employment agencies.

Now, an influential study by economists at Delft University has concluded what many of us suspected. A flexible workforce needs an expanded management bureaucracy to oversee it. Because precarity damages trust, loyalty and commitment, say the Delft researchers, it demands more management and control. An entire generation of free-market workers has begun to act according to the factory adage of the old Soviet Union: “We pretend to work, they pretend to pay us” ...

 ... In Britain, three basic things would lay the groundwork for a more controlled shift of pricing power towards the workforce and away from employers: the right to a written contract; the obligation to publish salary bands for specific job titles in private-sector firms; and limiting temporary contracts to genuinely temporary or seasonal tasks.

No comments: