ALMOST a third of Australian employees work unsocial hours – between 7pm and 7am – and even more complain they have no say about when they start or finish. ….Thirty per cent said their shifts regularly overlapped the hours between 7pm and 7am as part of their main job. Three in five said they had no say about when they started or finished.
As for weekends, 16 per cent said they were required to work on Saturdays, and 8.5 per cent on Sundays. One in four were not always allowed to choose when to take their holidays. (emphasis added)
Note the SMH interpretations I bolded. Working after 7pm isn’t necessarily ‘unsocial’ – a lot of people like their colleagues. The ABS report doesn’t anywhere suggest that people were complaining about having no say about when they start or finish; that simply goes with many jobs where predictable opening or operational times are necessary. The ABS doesn’t say that 16% of people are ‘required’ to work Saturdays; it just says that 16% do work Saturdays. As I noted earlier in the month, weekends and evenings are the only time some people with other commitments can work. And workers in particular industries can’t take holidays whenever they choose for good reasons, eg school teachers can’t take holidays during term.
What’s missing in this reporting is the sense that an employment arrangement is one of mutual advantage between employer and employee to provide goods and services from which other people benefit – rather than just something to benefit the employee, regardless of its effects on others.
But John Buchanan is having none of this:
“It is not just family life, but community life that is being compromised,” said the director of the Workplace Research Centre at Sydney University, John Buchanan. “It just rips the heart out of the football team.”
Can’t we put together a footy team out of the 84% of people who have Saturday off work (not to mention those who don’t have jobs at all)?
Lefties love hyperbole and melodrama, so no surprises that some people working outside 9 to 5 Monday to Friday is converted into ‘compromised’ family and community life and undermanned footy teams. What is surprising is the worldview implicit in this critique, one that shows a remarkable resemblance to the 1950s family life once so derided by the left. The idea that 9 to 5 Monday to Friday can be the norm assumes that there is someone at home generating services – doing the shopping, preparing food etc. Almost invariably, that was women. Once they were at work an expanded service sector that provided these services out of hours was near-inevitable, despite the efforts of many conservatives to stop it happening.