At least 30% of New Zealand’s workers – over 635,000 people – are in insecure work. We believe it may well cover 50% of the workforce. 95,000 workers have no usual work time, 61,000 workers have no written employment agreement, 573,000 workers earn less than the Living Wage and almost a quarter of a million Kiwi workers say they have experienced discrimination, harassment or bullying at work.
Whether we call it casualisation, precarious work, temporary, or non-standard work – it means that workers have worse conditions, less security, less say and are more vulnerable. That may suit the boss – but it is unfair and does not work for workers.
Insecure work, for most people, means their lives are dominated by work: waiting for it, looking for it, worrying when they don’t have it. They often don’t have paid holidays – which can mean no holidays at all. They lose out on family time. They often don’t have sick leave. They are vulnerable if they try to assert their rights or raise any concerns. They are exposed to dangerous working conditions and have to accept low wages. They can’t make commitments – to family, to sports teams, to community or church activities, to mortgages, or even to increasing their skills – this is not the kind of working life most Kiwi’s want.