Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/502/3144
Flexible hours? Suits you sir!
Like many students starting university this year, the idea of a £22,000 debt over my head is a shocking one. This summer, in an attempt to scrape a little off this debt, I ventured into the world of casual work.
Arran Cottam, Exeter Socialist Party
Bosses and job agencies try to sell casual work as a way of making money on your terms. "Work when you want, for who you want, for how much you want" I was told by one of these agencies.
In reality casual work means workers leave their rights at the door. In one job I worked in this summer I was entering data from forms into a computer, this was often for up to ten hours a day with as little as 20 minutes break for minimum wage.
As well as this work being mind numbingly boring you were also subjected to weekly 'progress meetings' where you were taken into an office and told how fast you were working, which never seemed to be enough.
This was a blatant attempt at intimidation by sectioning-off casuals and telling them to work faster or they could easily replace you, in reality this was all to raise their profits at the expense of workers.
The other job I worked this summer was a bar job in which 14-hour shifts were not unusual.
Also because of the casual status of this work it was not uncommon to arrive at work to be told that they didn't need you and to go home.
This had to just be accepted as there is no trade union representation for casual workers. In reality this means bosses can divide the workers and exploit the results for their profits.
This is the reality for many students and workers. The Socialist Party calls for a free education system for all, for trade union rights for casual workers and a minimum living wage of £8 per hour.
In The Socialist 20 September 2007:
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party news
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party review
Workplace news and analysis