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Shift Work, Childcare and Domestic Work: Divisions of Labour in Canadian Paper Mill Communities


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Preston, Valerie; Rose, Damaris; Norcliffe, Glen et Holmes, John (1999). Shift Work, Childcare and Domestic Work: Divisions of Labour in Canadian Paper Mill Communities Working Paper. Institut national de la recherche scientifique, Montréal.

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The growing prevalence of shift work and non-standard working hours is challenging many taken-for-granted notions about family and household life. This paper examines how rotating shift-schedules shape household strategies with regard to childcare and unpaid domestic work. In 1993-1994 we conducted in-depth interviews with 90 predominantly male newsprint mill-workers and their spouses living in three communities located in different regions of Canada. Our analysis is based on these interviews as well as data collected in a questionnaire survey administered to a much larger sample in each community. We focus on the effects of fixed versus rotating shifts and the extent to which household strategies differ between households with one or two wage-earners. Our findings reveal that the onus for adjusting to shifts fell mainly on the spouses of mill-workers who felt constrained in their own choices regarding employment and childcare by the demanding regimen of their partner’s shift schedules. In the vast majority of households a traditional division of labour predominated with regard to both childcare and domestic work. When women quit paid employment to accommodate the schedules of shift-workers and ensure time for the family to be together, traditional values reassert themselves. Surprisingly, we found a high level of satisfaction with current shift schedules despite the significant adjustments to family life they had engendered. By comparing families employed in the same industry but living in three very different communities our analysis underscores the importance of local circumstances in mediating the strategies households deploy with regards to coping with shift-work; especially with regard to childcare.

Type de document: Monographie (Working Paper)
Mots-clés libres: travail; programme; horaire rotatif; garde d'enfants; travail domestique; heures de travail atypiques; travail à temps partiel; travail à court terme; travail temporaire; emplois contractuels
Centre: Centre Urbanisation Culture Société
Date de dépôt: 12 nov. 2020 21:29
Dernière modification: 12 nov. 2020 21:29
URI: https://espace.inrs.ca/id/eprint/9428

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