For the last few months’ job numbers in Canada have been on the rise. This is definitely a positive thing or the province of Alberta where we have experienced a large recession.
Alberta’s unemployment rate has been steadily declining and currently sits at 7.4 per cent, dropping 1 per cent in just the last few months.
While many are cheering, the truth is that the numbers actually hide a growing problem – the rise in ‘survival jobs’ or what is also referred to as precarious work.
A recent article by CBC news pointed out that these jobs are still counted in job numbers released in statistics. A job is just counted as a number. No one takes into account job quality, and this is hurting our economy.
The majority of people in these types of jobs are youth, women and racialized workers. Meaning that already marginalized groups have no protections in their jobs and don’t have a lot of ability to move up the ladder into meaningful work.
They become trapped.
Last year the federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau told Canadians that they should get used to this type of ‘job churn’, but not all members of the Liberal Government feel that way.
In a recent interview with Rabble Labour Minister Patty Hajdu said that she hopes to ‘put an end to precarious work abuses’, such as part-time workers being paid less than full.
She is also hoping other provinces will follow her lead.
Most of the issues associated with this type of work tend to come up because workers have no one to stand up for them in the workplace. If they do bring up an issue, it can be easily dismissed or the employee can simply be fired.
In these precarious jobs people lack the ability to join a union, which can improve not only the quality of life at work, but home life as well. Unionized employees have better wages, more job security, benefits and the comfort of knowing they have support in the workplace.
So next time you see job numbers rising, be sure to look beyond just the stats and think about those who are left surviving paycheque to paycheque with precarious employment.