Barely half of working adults in the GTA and Hamilton have full-time jobs with benefits and expect to be working for their current employer a year from now, according to a groundbreaking report on precarious work and household well-being.
The other half are working either full- or part-time with no benefits or no job security, or in temporary, contract or casual positions, says the report by McMaster University and United Way Toronto being released Saturday.
It notes that 'precarious' or insecure work in the region has increased by 50 per cent in the past 20 years and is impacting everything from people's decision to form relationships, have children and volunteer in their community.
Based on the reactions from some quoted in the story, as well as from those who are passing the link around on the 'net, this news is being greeted with grave concern — as if something's wrong. But isn't this what we've been working towards for the last two or three decades?
Governments over the past thirty years or so have increasingly catered to the corporate agenda while organized labour has been steadily undermined. Politicians have practically hurt themselves in the rush to sign on to so-called trade agreements that curtail their own ability to affect the economy in favour of giving more control to the private sector. They've either looked on benignly or actively smoothed the way for employers who want to rely less on full time employees and turn as many jobs as possible into temporary, contract positions with no benefits.
Wasn't the state of affairs described in this article the point? People who feel their economic position is precarious will settle for lower wages, fewer benefits and more abuse. Their employers can look forward to bigger profits on which, thanks to those same co-operative governments, they'll pay lower taxes.
And based on the way so many politicians have embraced the latest phase of neoliberalism — the Austerity Agenda — this is exactly what was supposed to happen. Now they can really go to work on public sector employees too. Those offshore tax havens won't fill up with huge piles of money all by themselves, you know.