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Rise in insecure work hitting pregnant women hardest

WOMEN workers are increasingly suffering the effects of the “gig” economy with mothers hardest hit, a new report revealed today.

Maternity Action, supported by the University and College Union (UCU) and public-sector union Unison, found that pregnant women and mothers suffer most from the “harsh impact” of insecure work.

The report Insecure Labour: the realities of insecure work for pregnant women and new mothers was based on interviews with pregnant women and new mothers in casualised work.

Maternity Action director Ros Bragg said: “The increasing use of insecure contracts in recent years has profoundly disadvantaged pregnant women and new mothers. 

“Women are denied basic maternity rights by a combination of weak legal protections and exploitative employers. 

“Women have borne the brunt of the pandemic, and the rise in insecure working will further entrench the inequitable impact on mothers.”

She called for government action to reverse the growth in casualised work.

UCU called for “robust government action” to reverse the growth in insecure work.

Universities and colleges are recognised as the worst sector in Britain for the exploitation of workers through casualised labour, with employees laid off, unpaid during term breaks and with no entitlement to sick or holiday pay.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: “This report lays bare the heavy price that women pay in a world where employment is increasingly insecure.

“Too many women working in colleges and universities are stuck in a cycle of short-term contracts or hourly-paid work which leaves them financially vulnerable and unable to plan effectively for the future, a situation which the pandemic has only made more acute.”


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