While the media focuses on stagnant wage growth, many workers’ incomes are shrinking. Their companies have developed smart phone apps which enable their services to be delivered 24/7. Scheduled hours with an hourly rate are a thing of the past, or, if not totally extinct, they are critically endangered, rapidly disappearing.
To earn, the worker must make themselves available on the app and be able to drop everything and get to the workplace, likely a computer, or get to the customer and start work within a tight time limit designated by the company. And, you will need to respond quickly to the app on the smart phone, or someone else, a work colleague whom you’ve never met, will snap up the work.
You’ll get paid by the minute or the piece. It will be a minimum casual rate, with no on-call allowance, no penalty rates and no questions welcomed. You will be persuaded to believe that this great new technical innovation will be beneficial for everyone involved. Most workers will know upfront that this company-speak is bullshit. Those initially fooled by the hyped up propaganda will soon learn the truth as their income shrinks and their work becomes sporadic and thinly spread over every hour of every day.
It’s the gig economy. We didn’t ask for it, but we got it because the company gets what the company wants. And nothing’s as precious as increased profits.