Precarious work is a term used to describe non-standard employment which is poorly paid, insecure, unprotected, and cannot support a household. In recent decades, workers have been confronted with increasing forms of precarious jobs in BWI sectors as the bitter fruit of capitalist globalization, together with the shift from the manufacturing sector to the service sector and the spread of information technology. These changes have created a new economy which demands flexibility in the workplace and, as a result, caused the decline of the standard employment relationship.
Where there is little direct employment, we have large numbers of informal workers, “self-employed” workers, agency workers, and labour-only subcontracting as well as long chains of sub-contractors. In certain European countries, such practices have been widely applied for a long time; in others, such as developed countries in other continents such as in the USA, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, they are relatively new but growing rapidly. Precarious employment is even the norm in many developing countries.
The increasing trend of precarious employment is worrying as it goes hand in hand with a weakening of workers’ protection. Another important aspect of precarious work is its gender nature, as women are continuously over-presented in this type of work. In this regard, trade unions should fight all kinds of precarious work and push for direct employment contracts by ensuring workers´ rights.