, Volume 88, Issue 1, pp 15-30
Date: 06 Nov 2007

Economic Insecurity and Global Casualisation: Threat or Promise?

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Abstract

Casualisation has both negative and positive sides, for both workers and employers. This article considers how the positive sides could be developed while allowing casual work to continue to grow. In reviewing the advantages and disadvantages of casual labour for employers, the paper depicts casualisation (and the related process of ‘informalisation’) as usually involving seven forms of economic insecurity for the worker. The modern casualisation that is taking place as part of globalisation involves a steady restructuring of social income and labour recommodification, in which many workers are finding that an increasing share of their remuneration is coming from money wages, which are a relatively insecure part of their social income. As a result, there is a need to find new ways of providing income security that could allow workers to accept the more casual work arrangements without excessive anxiety and alienation. The article is, essentially, an argument for a re-assertion of a common sense of social solidarity, in which casual work can be a normal part of a flexible labour and work system.