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Unformatted text preview: {on http://www.lexisnexis.com/us/lnacademic/delivery/PrintDoc.do?job.;. 4 of 1000 DOCINENTS The Toronto Star October 7, 2009 Wednesday Job insecurity: the corrosive new normal ' BYLINE: Carol Goar, Toronto Star SECTION: OPINION; Pg. A23 LENGTH: 658 words Historic shifts catch people off-guard. Something feels askew. Their fiiends and colleagues seem to be losing their footing. But they don't know what's wrong. - Finally, someone sounds the alarm This week, an international coalition of unions sounded the alarm: §3recarious work has reached epidemic proportions. Around the world - in developed and emerging nations — employers are replacing fiill—time workers with part-timers, contract stall and temporary personnel. These "non-standard" employees have no job security and no benefits. Their wages usually are low. Their bargaining power is negligible. "While the impact may be different depending on each country’s social and economic conditions, the goal of employers is the same: cheap, flexible labour that can be brought in and dropped at will," says the International Metalworkers' Federation, which is spearheading the global call for action "This is everybody‘s problem - today's secure job could be tomorrow's temporary contract " In Canada, 37 per cent of work is part—time, short-term or casual. Almost everyone has a friend, relative, colleague or neighbour who lives from contract to contract. Almost every family has members who can't find a lasting job. The proportion of non—standard workers has been inching up since the 19803. It is hard to pinpoint the beginning of the trend because Statistics Canada didn't differentiate between permanent and temporary employment until the 19903. Now that it does track the nature of work, the shift is unmistakable. A decade ago, 68 per cent of working Canadians had jobs that produced a steady income and provided health and retirement benefits. Now it's dowu to 63 per cent. And the real jolt is still to come, labour analysts say. Most of the fiill-time jobs lost in this recession won't come back. Most of the employees laid off in the past year won't find permanent work. When the statistics catch up to the reality, people will be forced to confront the new normal. "This raises big societal questions," says Peggy Nash of the Canadian Auto Workers union, which is leading the public awareness campaign in this country. Precarious work not only strips people of a decent living, she points out. It undermines the country‘s social arrangements. Pensions, employment insurance, drug coverage, dental care, maternal and other benefits are all tied to a worker's job. She doesn't place all the blame on employers. They outsource jObs to survive. Governments lower employment standards to compete. International economic agencies promote labour flexibility. What Nash and her union colleagues do find troubling is the widespread denial in Canada that anything is amiss. 5/25/2010 10:50 AM ...
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