reading this post over at hoydens yesterday* got me thinking about one of the nastier effects of the current recession. as unemployment rises, there will be less pressure on employers to provide family friendly work practices.
couple this with the financial pressure on businesses, and they will seek to cut costs by getting more work out of fewer employees. which means longer working hours, particularly for those on salaries, and fewer part-time positions.
employers will tend to favour those employees who don't need to take time off for sick children and who don't need to rush off at the end of the day to pick up children from childcare. the pressures to ignore any kind of work-life balance is going to make working life a lot harsher and stressful.
then there was this little gem of a letter to the waikato times today:
At the recent employment summit, which participant revealed how many jobs could be made available to primary hoursehold providers if women providing secondary household incomes were to vacate the workforce?
nice. i wonder why he needs three long words to say "men"? cos the way that question is worded, he isn't making any room for the notion that women could be "primary household providers". nor does he care that a single income, at or near the minimum wage, is not enough maney to bring up a family.
wouldn't it be nice to live in his very simple world, where shunting women out of the workforce would solve the problems of the recession.
another thing that disturbed me recently was the international women's day event in wellington, where there was a lot of emphasis put on volunteering. while i'm all for encouraging people to get involved in the community, i'm really concerned that there will be an increasing expectation that social service work will be provided free of charge. this is work that should be paid for, a lot of it should be paid for by the government, but the pressure will be on to provide labour free of charge - especially if you're unemployed. it's a nice way to cut government spending & reduce the number of paid jobs available, while getting work done free of charge. except that the volunteers actually need money to live on, they need paid work.
it's just not looking good. for something a little more inspiring (and on another topic altogether), read this.