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Working poor struggle

Single mother Raya Allan has been juggling three jobs to make ends meet since she was made redundant at the age of 51, WA Today reports.

She is one of 750,000 Australians working second or third jobs as result of high underemployment according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics. There has been a 9.2 per cent increase in secondary jobs compared to a 6.8 per cent increase in main jobs for the past three years.

After nine-and-a-half years in a cleaning job, Ms Allan says she was thanked for her good work, given a glowing reference and dismissed in August last year.

Six months later, only $73 of her redundancy package remained after her regular mortgage payments were deducted from her savings. “I was really struggling,” she said.

Now aged 52, she has two cleaning jobs in Melbourne and does two hours of gardening for three clients every fortnight to supplement her income.

She spends two-and-a-half hours cleaning at a school from Monday to Friday. She has another private cleaning job which gives her an extra 10 hours of work a fortnight.

“It’s really hard to get a full-time job for the day. So I have had to get three jobs to make ends meet because I’ve got a mortgage and two teenage boys. I’ve always worked hard. I just take whatever I can get.”

Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney said the growth in second and third jobs was “extremely disturbing and should have every Australian worker, economist and politician worried”.

“What this shows is that people can no longer survive on a single job,” she said. “Working people are rapidly falling into the new class of working poor.”

Natasha Lay from Youth Action, a peak body for youth services, said casualisation was impacting particularly on young people who were competing for fewer jobs and more hours.


Workers juggling two or three jobs to make ends meet (WA Today)


Airport cleaner / Peter van der Sluijs / Wikipedia / CCA BY SA 3.0