Growth in 'casualised' work figures

Frances O'Grady

Almost half of the rise in employment in the past few years has been in temporary work, according to a new study.

Research by the TUC showed that the number of temporary workers increased by 89,000 in the two years to end of December 2012, to reach 1.6 million.
The UK's temporary workforce has jumped by 230,000 since 2005, while permanent jobs have fallen by 8,000, said the union organisation.

The number of people in temporary jobs because they couldn't find permanent work has been increasing "sharply" for years, more than doubling to 655,000 in 2012 compared with 2005.
The TUC said the figures dispel the argument that staff are happy with temporary or fixed-term work because of the flexibility they offer.

Added to an increase in zero hours contracts and an increase in casual temporary work, the study shows that beneath the headline employment figures lies an increasingly "insecure, vulnerable" workforce.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: " Millions of people have taken shorter hours, temp jobs and zero hours contracts in order to stay afloat during the recession and stagnation. But while poor pay and no career prospects may be better than the dole, these kind of jobs will not raise living standards or create a meaningful recovery for most people.

"The fact that casualised labour continues to grow even during this 'so-called' recovery suggests that the labour market is far more fragile than headline figures suggest.

"Ministers need to acknowledge the problems of under-employment and insecure work, as it is eroding people's living standards. Cutting basic rights at work and making it easier for bad bosses to mistreat staff will only make things worse."

The report was published ahead of the latest official unemployment figures on Wednesday.

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