What's your story?

Date: 27/05/2002

Researchers at the University of Western Sydney are keen to find out how residents in the areas of Penrith and Leichhardt feel about their working lives.

The pilot study, which is being undertaken by the University's Centre for Critical Psychology, aims to provide a snap-shot of how ten years of political, economic and social change have impacted upon our working and home lives.

According to Professor Valerie Walkerdine, chief researcher for the project, while our labour market has changed dramatically in the past two decades, very little is known about its effects on ordinary Australians.

"Over the past twenty years Australian workers have come under increasing pressure as a result of major changes within the labour market," says Professor Walkerdine.

"Casual and contract work has increased in comparison with full-time employment, industrial laws have changed, unions are having to fight harder for the rights of workers and the benefits of economic growth are not being equally shared by all Australians.

"While these day-to-day challenges have largely become part and parcel of our working lives, little is known about how people deal with these pressures in the office and at home."

Professor Walkerdine says the study aims to stimulate debate about these issues within the community.

"We need to better understand how different groups of people have experienced these changes," says Professor Walkerdine.

"For most of us, a job is no longer secure for life. Instead many people believe they must keep training and learning to be sure of employment tomorrow. We want to know whether people see the labour market as being fraught with uncertainty or whether they see it as producing greater freedom and opportunities."

The researchers are interested in speaking with people between the ages of 18-20, 29-31 and 54-56 who live in the Penrith or Leichhardt areas. Participants in the study will be involved in a 1-2 hour interview and all travel expenses will be covered by the University.

Anyone wishing to take part in the study can contact Peter Bansel: (02) 9772 6726.

Media contact: Lynda McKewen
Senior Media Officer
Ph: (02) 9678 7424
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