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Labour Market Realities: Growing Precarity for Housing Workers

Kingsley Abrams on Labour Market Realities for Housing Workers from CLASS on Vimeo.

As today's labour market statistics yet again show record high levels of employment, it is worth remembering that being in work no longer brings about the financial security it once did.

As Kingsley Abrams highlights in our interview above, the rise of in-work poverty has been particularly acute over recent years. The most recent figures suggest that almost 60% of those living in poverty are non-pensioners in working households and this as should come as no real surprise - today's ONS figures show that, in real terms, total average pay remains £33 lower a week than it was in February 2008.

As Kingsley notes with a salary of £15,000 to £17,000, "you have to pay your rent, you have to pay so many bills, it will affect you enormously... it will stress you." CLASS research conducted earlier this year found that over half of all UK workers had noticed an increase in stress in their workplace over the past year. Stress is just one aspect of what some call the 'precarization' of work, where increasing insecurity is both subjectively and objectively felt by workers.

With precarious work afflicting an ever-greater number of workers, the shortcoming of today's statistics is that they glaze over these issues and seem to be predicated on the assumption that transitioning into work is enough to absolve any financial woes people may have. The goal needs to change from 'more jobs' to 'more and better jobs'.