Precarious workers are workers who are hired to fill permanent job positions, but are not actually hired as permanent workers, and are therefore denied rights permanent workers are usually are given. This is done in order to lower the amount companies have to pay for labour costs. For example, these workers are often subjected to lower wages, rarely receive benefits, work in poorer conditions and are denied the right to join a union (therefore making it harder to fight against these violations to their rights). As they are not officially permanent workers, they are also easily replacable, so are scared to protest, in fear that they will be fired instantly.Women, minorities and migrant workers are more likely to be in precarious work.
Precarious work is increasingly being used to replace permanent jobs, so employers can reduce/abandom their responsibility to workers, saving money.
Let’s look at an example I am sure you’re aware of: UBER.
Uber does not hire their workers, they make them ‘self-employed’ so that they do not have to pay for workers’ basic rights, including holiday pay and minimum wage. This self-employed status also means workers are required to pay for fuel, among other requirements. Taking these costs into consideration, workers’ wages fall dramatically, bringing their wages well below minimum wage.
By paying workers such little for their work, Uber continues to reap profit.
http://www.industriall-union.org/what-is-precarious-work (w/ cute lil youtube video to help explain it better)