An Occupational Perspective
Edited by Werner Eichhorst and Paul Marx
Chapter 14: Trade unions, precarious work and dualisation in Europe
Non-standard employment, including fixed-term contracts, temporary agency work, (dependent) self-employment and (marginal) part-time contracts, has been on the rise in Europe in recent decades, in particular in the service sector (Eichhorst et al. 2010; European Commission 2011a). One of the corollaries of this development is that job quality is under pressure and that job precariousness (i.e. jobs with low levels of security, bad working conditions, low wages and/or limited social security rights) is on the rise (Pe-a-Casas and Pochet 2009; Greenan et al. 2010). Non-standard employment is not necessarily precarious; however, most precarious jobs are indeed non-standard jobs. It is the precarious nature of many non-standard jobs that makes them a major concern in today’s labour market in Europe. Certain social groups (e.g. the young, migrants, women, the low skilled and elderly workers) are overrepresented among precarious jobs and are often trapped in the lower segments of the labour market. The rise of precarious employment is not simply an outcome of inevitable economic and technological developments.
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