Pathways to precarity: Work, financial insecurity and wage dependency among Australia’s retrenched auto workers

Journal article


Barnes, Tom. (2021). Pathways to precarity: Work, financial insecurity and wage dependency among Australia’s retrenched auto workers. Journal of Sociology. 57(2), pp. 443-463. https://doi.org/10.1177/1440783320925151
AuthorsBarnes, Tom
Abstract

Precarious work research has increasingly understood that precarity is not limited to poor job quality. However, this idea has received insufficient attention among older workers whose careers have been erased by retrenchment. The sense in which retrenched workers’ lives are co-determined by the residual effects of previous long-term careers has been under-studied. Through a study of the closure of Australia’s automotive manufacturing industry, this article shows how workers’ life trajectories were differentiated by benefits accrued through their long careers, including union-negotiated redundancy pay and wealth accumulated in home ownership. Retrenched workers adopted different positions on a continuum of wage dependency and household-scale financial security which insulated some from the negative effects of precarious work and relegated others to a pathway of rising precarity. This latter pathway is likely to become more important among older workers due to the disappearance of large-scale manual employment in secure, well-paying jobs.

Keywordsasset-based welfare; auto industry; older workers; precarious work; precarity; retrenchment
Year2021
JournalJournal of Sociology
Journal citation57 (2), pp. 443-463
PublisherSAGE Publications
ISSN1440-7833
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1177/1440783320925151
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85086031480
Page range443-463
Publisher's version
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online07 Jun 2020
Publication process dates
Deposited15 Apr 2021
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