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Showing posts with the label working conditions

Wage slavery or liberation from toil

Overall real wages have scarcely budged in the 1990s in America, and earnings for college-educated workers actually declined by more than 6 percent. Productivity per person-hour increased by 5 percent between 2009 and 2010. 

These days, workers are expected to be on call 24/7—24 hours per day, seven days per week. Seen in this light, innovations like flexi-time or working from home are in fact strategies to bring new sorts of workers—mostly women—into the job market and to subject them to a new set of (frequently electronic) rules and controls.

Think about it. Fifteen years ago, would you have taken a job if you had to be available every day, respond to messages from your boss late at night, and maintain contact with the office while on vacation?  But today just about any job, especially the good ones, exhibit precisely this oppressive 24/7 character. At the same time technology has redefined labor into assembly-line piecework and new gadgets have allowed our less inviting piecework t…

Shift work is unhealthy

Shift work has been associated with a host of health problems. The evidence is clear that getting enough sleep is important for health, and that sleep should be at night for best effect”

Shift workers getting too little sleep at the wrong time of day may be increasing their risk of diabetes and obesity, according to researchers. The team is calling for more measures to reduce the impact of shift working following the results of its study.

Changes to normal sleep meant the body struggled to control sugar levels. Some participants even developed early symptoms of diabetes within weeks.

Participants in the study started with 10 hours' sleep at night. This was followed by three weeks of disruption to their sleep and body clocks. The length of the day was extended to 28 hours, creating an effect similar to a full-time flyer constantly getting jet lag. Participants were allowed only 6.5 hours' sleep in the new 28-hour day, equivalent to 5.6 hours in a normal day. They also lived in dim…
Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has called for a new body to be set up to protect workers from abuse and exploitation by bosses. In the past two years, Scottish citizens advice bureaux have handled 107,000 cases where people claimed to have been treated unfairly at work. CAS said it feared that could be the tip of the iceberg.

The Fair Employment report said one of the "key features" of the recession had been that "many employers retained staff on less generous terms and conditions rather than making large numbers of employees redundant". While it said this was "usually preferable" to redundancy, it claimed cutting workers' hours and wages could have a significant impact. The report stated: "As a result of the fragmented enforcement regime, our evidence shows that many employees are unable to raise and resolve poor practices that they experience at work. This leaves some employers free to continue inadequate and sometimes illegal employm…