Precarious Employment

"This shouldn't happen from one day to the other that they tell us if there ́s a job or not. I need to plan."

When Electronics Watch asks workers in countries as varied as India, the Czech Republic, China, and the Philippines what they would most like to change, precarious work is often at the top of the list because it so profoundly impacts their wages, security, and health and safety.

In the electronics industry, rush orders, transfer of risks to subcontractors, and cost-cutting mechanisms are part of an industry business model that profoundly impacts working conditions in factories. This model has resulted in flexible and precarious work arrangements, such as temporary, part-time, and contractual employment, along with irregular working hours, lack of job and social security, and increased health and safety risks.

These work arrangements may be harmful to workers and are sometimes illegal. Because of flexible production demands, and product life cycles only 3-18 months long, precarious employment is endemic. About 80-90% of the workforce are temporary contract workers in some areas of China, Malaysia, Hungary, and Mexico during peak production periods, according to the ILO.

Read workers' story "The Insecurity of Working for a Subcontractor in Central Europe"