worker

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Worker

An employee or one engaged in an activity that makes money. In left-wing circles, the word especially refers to employees who earn wages (as opposed to salaries) and/or those in blue collar professions.

worker

a person employed by an organization to perform a JOB or work tasks either on a paid basis (as an employee) or on an unpaid basis (as, for example, a charity worker).

Traditionally, paid employees have been categorized into two groups of workers:

  1. manual workers, i.e. those working mainly with their hands. Although manual workers may be engaged in service occupations such as pavement sweeping, the dominant image of the manual worker is that of an employee engaged in production in a factory Often these workers are referred to as blue-collar workers because their physical working environment is such that (blue) overalls are necessary;
  2. non-manual workers, i.e. those who can be said to work with their heads rather than their hands, providing administrative services rather than directly creating material goods. As with manual workers, the term is somewhat artificial: some non-manual employees, typists for example, require considerable manual dexterity White-collar worker is an alternative term in common use, though it tends to be applied mainly to clerical rather than managerial or PROFESSIONAL employees. White-collar workers are so called because their apparently favourable working environment makes a light-coloured shirt or blouse practical work wear, and because smart clothing is often viewed as appropriate dress for work of this type and status. In sociology ‘black-coated worker’ has also been used to refer to clerical workers because a sober, dark jacket similarly has been seen as essential work wear.

Although these categorizations are somewhat imprecise in terms of the type of work performed, there is often a clear difference in the conditions of employment (see CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT) associated with each. Those workers classed as non-manual tend to have more favourable conditions (for example, better holiday entitlements) than manual workers (see STAFF STATUS).

The difference in working conditions between the two groups has been thought in the past to give rise to two distinct sets of attitudes. Manual workers were thought to subscribe to COLLECTIVISM and to a confrontational view of their relationship with their employer, whilst non-manual workers were thought to be more individualist (see INDIVIDUALISM) in their attitudes and to adopt a deferential approach to their managers. Though always an oversimplification, the picture has become more complex in recent years with the apparent spread of individualism amongst manual workers and the growth of highly repetitive, routinized clerical work, leading, some say to the ‘proletarianization of white-collar work.

Probably the most widespread popular image of the worker is that of a male employee employed in factory work. However, this image is now a long way out of step with reality. Only 25% of the UK labour force are now employed in manufacturing, with a corresponding growth in services in recent years. In addition, there has been a large increase in the number of women workers, with the result that nearly half of the employed force is female. In the UK, the employment of males in full-time manufacturing jobs has been steadily replaced by the employment of females in PART-TIME, service sector jobs. See DISCRIMINATION, ORIENTATION TO WORK, TEMPORARY WORK, WHITE-COLLAR UNION.

References in classic literature ?
But we're hatching out drones with workers' stomachs; workers with drones' stomachs; and albinoes and mixed-leggers who can't pack pollen--like that poor little beast yonder.
Simultaneously a warning whistle broke from Ghek's lips and in instant response the workers leaped to their feet, one almost in the girl's path.
Little business men, shopkeepers, and such ilk took what whack they could out of the product of the worker; but, after all, it was the large business men who formed the workers through the little business men.
The Laundry Workers, but recently organized, were green at the business, and had petitioned Mary Condon to engineer the strike.
He agreed with Peter Donnelly that Jackson should have got damages, and he went farther and called the action heartless and cold- blooded that had turned the worker adrift after he had been made helpless by the accident.
The strike, or, rather, the lockout, because the workers of Rio Blanco had helped their striking brothers of Puebla.
Thus in Eciton, there are working and soldier neuters, with jaws and instincts extraordinarily different: in Cryptocerus, the workers of one caste alone carry a wonderful sort of shield on their heads, the use of which is quite unknown: in the Mexican Myrmecocystus, the workers of one caste never leave the nest; they are fed by the workers of another caste, and they have an enormously developed abdomen which secretes a sort of honey, supplying the place of that excreted by the aphides, or the domestic cattle as they may be called, which our European ants guard or imprison.
The workers in each of these families were at once producers and consumers.
We were riding together at the time, and had just passed a batch of workers, and my husband was speaking to the overseer, when a woman arrived alone, and taking up a spade, began to dig.
Beside Denisov rode an esaul,* Denisov's fellow worker, also in felt cloak and sheepskin cap, and riding a large sleek Don horse.
He has no bad habits and he's a great worker, and you can depend on him.
But now that they have learned crafts through Hephaestus the famed worker, easily they live a peaceful life in their own houses the whole year round.

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