Workshop on precarious employment urges action as financial crisis hits women, families hardest
The current crisis is exacerbating the problems experienced by women in precarious work and their families, according to EMF – IMF workshop on the impact of precarious work on families and communities.
FRANKFURT, GERMANY: Women's precarious employment is having severe consequences for families and communities according to the outcome of a joint workshop organised by the European Metalworkers' Federation and the International Metalworkers' Federation and hosted by IG Metall.
Women are being disproportionately affected by the global financial crisis. Since women make up the bulk of temporary and contract workers, the first jobs to be cut have been those primarily held by women.
The workshop also heard how erosion of working conditions for precarious workers is having a severe impact on families.
A survey of metalworkers in Italy found that 45% of women under the age of 25 are precarious employed and that women remain in precarious employment longer than men.
Without permanent employment, women are less able to plan to have children, receive lower wages and are not able to take time off for illness or vacations.
A study on atypical employment in Germany emphasized the importance of women's income to families. Women were the main breadwinners in 20% of the interviewed households, either as sole parents or where partners were unemployed or low-paid, putting paid to the notion of women's earnings as supplemental income.
Unpredictable work hours, conflict over the division of household labour, violence in the home and greater forced independence for children were all consequences of women's precarious employment, putting pressure on relationships and causing increased stress and negative health implications.
For unions to be able to respond to the needs of women precarious workers, the workshop stressed that women must be better represented in union decision-making structures. Unions must put an emphasis on women's needs in collective bargaining negotiations with a focus on equal pay, predictable working hours and well-paid, secure part time work. Mar 26, 2009 – Erin Farley