Making employees feel insecure and in permanent competition for continuing work is one well-worn pathway for ensuring workplaces are compliant, wages stay low and conditions are minimal, writes Pip Hinman.
Casuals now make up about half of the academic workforce in Australia’s universities. For most of them it is precarious work at its worst. Those lucky enough to get two 13-week sessional contracts a year are unemployed academics for the other half of the year, forced to then compete with a growing precariat for temporary employment elsewhere while still at the call of their part-time employer. And the 13 weeks are not necessarily standard 35-hour weeks, they can be for as little as one hour a week.