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Representing workers on health and safety in precarious employment Some Canadian experiences Wayne Lewchuk, McMaster University Marlea Clarke, McMaster.

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Presentation on theme: "Representing workers on health and safety in precarious employment Some Canadian experiences Wayne Lewchuk, McMaster University Marlea Clarke, McMaster."— Presentation transcript:

1 Representing workers on health and safety in precarious employment Some Canadian experiences Wayne Lewchuk, McMaster University Marlea Clarke, McMaster University Alice deWolff, McMaster University October 2007

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3 The Shift to the Internal Responsibility System Most Canadian Jurisdictions Move to IRS in the 1970s Most Canadian Jurisdictions Move to IRS in the 1970s Right to Participate (Mandatory JHSC) Right to Participate (Mandatory JHSC) Right to Know of Hazards Right to Know of Hazards Right to Refuse Right to Refuse

4 Trends in H&S Regulation in Ontario Since 1970s Significant decline in Ministry inspections Significant decline in Ministry inspections Move to bipartite organizations in training and exposure setting in late 1980s Move to bipartite organizations in training and exposure setting in late 1980s

5 Tucker IR/RI 2003

6 The Activists become Staff Activist frustrated with the limitation of IRS Activist frustrated with the limitation of IRS Activists absorbed into bipartite organizations and official union movement Activists absorbed into bipartite organizations and official union movement By the end of the 1990s movement had become more technical and less political By the end of the 1990s movement had become more technical and less political

7 Writing workers out in the 1990s Bipartite structures to set exposure standards and deliver training abandoned in 1995 with the election of conservative provincial government Bipartite structures to set exposure standards and deliver training abandoned in 1995 with the election of conservative provincial government

8 The Erosion of the Standard Employment Relationship By 2003 only 62.9% of all employed had permanent full-time work. By 2003 only 62.9% of all employed had permanent full-time work. Vosko, 2006, p. 20 Canadian workers more exposed to international competition.

9 Internal Responsibility System and Precarious Employment IRS works most effectively when workers have the confidence and knowledge to defend their interests IRS works most effectively when workers have the confidence and knowledge to defend their interests How have changes in labour markets impacted their ability to act in their own interest? How have changes in labour markets impacted their ability to act in their own interest?

10 The Employment Strain Study Population based survey 2005/2006 Population based survey 2005/2006 Interviews Interviews Analysis limited to non-fulltime students, over 18 and living in Greater Toronto Area Analysis limited to non-fulltime students, over 18 and living in Greater Toronto Area

11 Precarious Employment and the IRS Do workers in precarious employment face different hazards at work? Are workers in precarious employment less informed about H&S hazards? Are workers in precarious employment less able to exercise voice at work? Can we isolate the characteristics of employment relationships and how they impact health?

12 The Sample Includes three different employment types Includes three different employment types Precarious employment: Half or more of work hours arranged through a temporary employment agency or employed on a short- term contract (<1 year) (n=316) Own account self-employed (n=121) Full-time permanent employees (n=1107)

13 Characteristics of the Sample About half those in precarious employment and full-time employment are women, slightly fewer in self- employment. About half those in precarious employment and full-time employment are women, slightly fewer in self- employment. Full-time employees are more likely to be between the ages of 25 & 50, but over half of precarious employees are in this age bracket. Full-time employees are more likely to be between the ages of 25 & 50, but over half of precarious employees are in this age bracket.

14 Working Conditions of Workers in Precarious Employment Marginally more likely to report work too heavy, but as likely to report too fast. Marginally more likely to report work too heavy, but as likely to report too fast. More likely to report being exposed to noise and uncomfortable temperatures. More likely to report being exposed to noise and uncomfortable temperatures. More likely to report working with toxic substances. More likely to report working with toxic substances.

15 p=.014

16 Precarious Employment and Disorganization Twice as likely to report working in unfamiliar locations on a weekly basis. Twice as likely to report working in unfamiliar locations on a weekly basis. Almost 60% report jobs last less than 6 months compared to under 10% for full-time employees. Almost 60% report jobs last less than 6 months compared to under 10% for full-time employees.

17 Training and Knowledge H&S training at work H&S training at work Information about toxic substances Information about toxic substances

18 p<.001

19 p=.003

20 Rights and Representation at Work Can workers raise H&S issues? Can workers raise H&S issues? Does employment insecurity limit their ability to raise issues? Does employment insecurity limit their ability to raise issues? Are they supported by a union at work? Are they supported by a union at work?

21 p<.001

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25 p<.000

26 p<.001

27 Health Indicators Self-reported health Self-reported health Pain Pain Stress Stress Employment Strain Employment Strain

28 p=.015

29 p<.001

30 p=.007

31 Health Poor Pain ½ the Days Stress Most Days Unfamiliar locations Short job duration Lack H&S training Not informed on toxins --- Problem raising H&S Problem raising employment rights Raising H&S leads to change Union member Health and the Characteristics of Employment Relationships (Odds-Ratios) Health=f(age,sex,employment relationship + other variables)

32 Employment Relationship Uncertainty Employment Relationship Effort Diagram 1: The Employment Strain Model Employment Strain Employment Relationship Support

33 p<.001

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35 High Strain Low Strain No H&S training Informed on toxins -- Problem raising H&S Problem raising employment rights Raising H&S leads to change - Employment Strain and the IRS (Odds-Ratios) Health=f(age,sex,employment relationship + other variables)

36 Summary Precarious employment associated Precarious employment associated with poor working conditions with poor working conditions poor H&S training poor H&S training Inability to exercise voice at work Inability to exercise voice at work Poorer health in general Poorer health in general

37 Summary (2) Key factors associated with poorer health Key factors associated with poorer health lack of H&S training lack of H&S training Inability to voice rights Inability to voice rights Disorganization only associated with pain Disorganization only associated with pain Raising H&S leading to change not significant Raising H&S leading to change not significant Employment Strain a major issue for precarious employment Employment Strain a major issue for precarious employment

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