March 30, 2015

Workers struggling with job insecurity, says UK charity

A new report published by the UK’s Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) has warned that its clients are increasingly under pressure caused by temporary and insecure jobs.

The report argues that many British workers are not benefiting from the recovery in the country’s economy, in what may be a permanent shift in the employment market towards temporary and casual labor.

Despite the recovery, UK employers are continuing to rely on temporary contracts, shift work, and zero-hours contracts. The CAB says that while some workers may benefit from these flexible arrangements, for others they can cause problems with debt, housing, and childcare.

In its report, titled Second Choice Jobs, the CAB also argues that changes in the labor market are making it harder for employees to assert their employment rights. It says that 70% of its staff have experienced cases where an employee’s hours or shifts were changed negatively after they had turned down shifts or taken sick leave.

Gillian Guy, CAB’s chief executive, said that: “We need flexibility in the labour market, but not at the cost of fairness. The combination of low pay and unpredictable work patterns leaves too many people facing an uphill struggle to make ends meet from one month to the next.”

IZA World of Labor author Werner Eichhorst has written for us about fixed-term contracts, arguing that they “can be a pathway from unemployment to employment, but their potential as a stepping stone to permanent employment is undercut if there is a strong degree of segmentation in labor markets.”

Read more at the Financial Times website. The full Citizens Advice Bureau report can be accessed here.

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Fixed-term contracts, by Werner Eichhorst