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Why the death of employment is a dead idea

David Peetz writes in The Conversation (13.5.16) about the issues of employment status, industrial reform and workplace relations, and how the future nature of work will feature in the current federal election campaign.

‘The federal government has proposed that the “future of work” be the main industrial relations battleground in the election.

‘The current system, it says, is “stuck in the past” and has not kept up with fundamentally different ways of doing business, as represented by “disruptors” such as Uber and Airtasker.

‘The government plans (though we don’t yet know how) to remove “disincentives to employment” and promote “flexibility” (a word of many meanings). New workers “don’t know what 9-5 means” but “they do know … what 24/7 means”. However, the government says, we will “always have a strong safety net”.

‘Yet despite all the predictions of the “death of employment” (including a book by that title a few years ago), it has not happened and will not happen. Like the related myth of the surge of independent contracting, it is a zombie idea that won’t quite die.’

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