Why are so many Australians working more yet struggling to meet their basic needs? This account of the plight of low paid workers is a stinging indictment of our society and a threat to our social fabric.
Even in an international downturn, Australia is a prosperous country. Yet many Australians are working more for less and struggling to meet their basic needs, despite being employed.
Living Low Paid investigates the Orwellian vision unfolding, often behind closed doors, in Australia's working heartland. The book challenges the low wage path to national prosperity by exposing the hard realities of living low paid for Australian workers today.
In their own words, workers tell the costs of low pay for individuals, families and communities and the social fabric at large. Workers are increasingly being undermined by casualisation, hours of work and exploitative pay setting methods, while enormous tax breaks are given to the rich, jobs are outsourced, unions are muzzled and job entitlements such as sick pay, holiday pay and penalty rates are scrapped.
Living Low Paid offers a biting account of Australia's growing underbelly. It is vital reading for anyone who cares about where Australia is heading.
The hope that a job was a sure road out of poverty for most in our country no longer holds. This book shows that many face insecure or inadequate hours, low hourly rates and little access to basic benefits. Low pay casts a long shadow, well into retirement for many.'
Louise Tarrant, National Secretary, Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union
This book helps strip back the cloak which shrouds the lived experience of working poverty in a nation where prosperity shields so many from direct knowledge. It is an eloquent argument for change: we can and must do better.'
Tony Nicholson, Executive Director Brotherhood of St Laurence
Helen Masterman-Smith lectures in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Charles Sturt University. Barbara Pocock is Director of the Centre for Work + Life at the University of South Australia and is the author of The Labour Market Ate My Babies and The Work/Life Collision.