The Other Side of Precariousness: The Cost of Job Loss

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Weller, Sally Anne (2007) The Other Side of Precariousness: The Cost of Job Loss. Working Paper. Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia.

Abstract

The increasing precariousness of work, its concentration among vulnerable groups, and the divide between secure, primary sector workers and the expendable army of casual and contract labour is well documented. Much less attention has been directed to the other side of precariousness – the practices that increase the costs of job loss for workers in the primary labour market. In an era of low official unemployment and labour shortages, where the discourses of neo-liberal flexibility dominate, it is easy to assume that job loss is now a costless and effortless transition and that ‘labour adjustment’ is no longer a policy issue. As a result, workers’ hard-won rights to compensation for the job losses that result from corporate failure are being eroded or abolished. By exploring the interrelations between the personal, financial and career-related impacts of job loss for former Ansett airlines employees, this paper shows that job loss remains an extremely costly life-changing event. The conclusion argues that the costs of job loss cast a shadow over the rhetoric of flexibility and that public awareness of these costs underpin the contemporary disciplining of the apparently secure, primary sector workforce.

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Item type Monograph (Working Paper)
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/15939
DOI CSES Working Paper No. 34
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > Centre for Strategic Economic Studies (CSES)
Historical > FOR Classification > 1699 Other Studies in Human Society
Keywords job loss, labour market, career, work
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