Events

The Work and Equalities Institute runs a wide variety of different events and activities, and collaborates with a range of stakeholders.

Forthcoming events

For Work and Equalities seminars, please select Seminar Series 2020-21.


Managing job insecurity and creating better quality work

Thursday 4 February 2021, 2.00pm 4.00pm GMT

Society of Occupational Medicine and Public Health England Webinar series 3

What is poor quality work? We know that poor quality work that is precarious, and insecure can be more damaging to health than unemployment. This section of the working population is likely to increase during the pandemic and its aftermath. These workers are also often left out of wellbeing initiatives and any initiative of support is often hard to access. There is no sick pay for these workers so the risk of presenteeism and associated health risks is greater.

Speakers include Jill Rubery, Stephen Bevan and Henry Chango Lopez.<

Register via Eventbrite.


The Value of Human Labour 2

Date: Friday 26 February 2021
Time: 11:00 – 12:30
Registration is via Eventbrite

This second session continues the interdisciplinary discussion of critical issues confronting human labour under Covid-19.

Conflicting Covid narratives: The value of supermarket work and implications for the future
Abbie Winton is a final year doctoral researcher at the Work and Equalities Institute. Her research explores retail work and sociotechnical change, with a current focus on the crisis and the shaping impact this could have on the future of work within the sector.
Debra Howcroft is Professor of Technology and Organisation at the Work and Equalities Institute and is the Editor of New Technology, Work and Employment’.

Sharing the load: How work sharing can reduce unemployment, improve gender equality, and benefit mental health
Jill Rubery is Professor of Comparative Employment Systems and Director of the Work and Equalities Institute. Her current research interests include inequality in the labour market, digitalisation in the workplace, and the related effects of COVID-19.
Isabel Tavora is a Senior Lecturer in Human Resource Management at Manchester Alliance Business School and a member of the Work and Equalities Institute. Her research focuses on comparative employment policy, collective bargaining, gender equality and work-family reconciliation. Isabel chairs the School’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Beyond work intensification – the contradictions and ironies of the changing nature of cleaning work in a context of austerity and organisational change
Jo McBride is a Professor at the University of Durham and has worked on a range of issues related to collectivism at work, the nature of skills and in work poverty, and the role of decent work initiatives.
Miguel Martinez Lucio is a Professor at the Work & Equalities Institute and is the Editor of New Technology, Work and Employment. He has worked on questions of change within work, the transformation of worker representation and the development of regulation and the state.

Job value during COVID-19 pandemic: Recognising migrants as ‘critical’ but neglected workers
Anthony Rafferty is a Professor of Employment Studies at the University of Manchester and a Deputy Director of the Work and Equalities Institute (WEI).
Stefania Marino is a Senior Lecturer in Employment Studies at the University of Manchester. Her research interests are in the field of labour sociology, industrial relations and labour market studies with a specific focus on international comparative analysis. Stefania has worked extensively on the relationship between labour migration and labour market and in particular on trade union representation of migrant workers across countries.

Events relating to COVID-19

Members of the Work and Equalities Institute have been involved in a number of webinars discussing the effects of the pandemic on society.

Gender equality and in-work poverty: which role for the EU?

The OSE, ETUI and AK EUROPA held a webinar at the launch of the 21st edition of ‘Social policy in the European Union: state of play 2020’.

Jill Rubery and Isabel Tavora spoke on 'The Covid 19 crisis and gender equality: risks and opportunities'.
22 January 2021


Navigating Flexibility: Hybrid working, Equality & COVID-19

Flexible working has always been a double-edged sword: bringing greater freedom for employees and employers, but also unexpected negative consequences for both. As organisations continue to oscillate between returning to work, working from home and new hybrid patterns of working, Jill Rubery and Emma Banister joined the Manchester branch of the CIPD to ask what we might learn from the lessons of the past to help navigate an uncertain future.

WEI/CIPD webinar and podcast, 03 December 2020


MICRA/AMBS webinar: COVID-19: considering the impact on older workers

Dr Sheena Johnson (Senior Lecturer at the University of Manchester), Dr Emily Andrews (Centre for Ageing Better) and Dr Mat Ainsworth (Greater Manchester Combined Authority Ageing Hub) discussed how older workers are potentially disproportionately affected given their increased risk to COVID-19, how the recession is seeing a substantial hit to their earnings and hours and the labour market inequalities faced by older people. They considered how current and future research will inform responses and opportunities presented by COVID-19.

MICRA/AMBS webinar and podcast, 19th August 2020


Is remote working the future of work?

The COVID-19 crisis has thrown light on both the positive and negative aspects of home and remote working. On the one hand, workers have shown great resilience and resourcefulness in adapting to the challenges, demonstrating their commitment in the industries and sectors where it has been possible to do so. Indeed, as technology increasingly enables remote working, some employers are now considering a longer or even permanent shift to homeworking.

Tony Dundon, Jonny Gifford (Senior Advisor for Organisational Behaviour at the CIPD) and Natasha Owusu (Policy & Campaigns Support Officer for Equalities at the TUC), discussed the pros, cons and sustainability of remote working.

Alliance Manchester Business School webinar and podcast, 14 July 2020


Women and Work

This University of Manchester webinar, part of the Doing Things Differently series, examined the gendered impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking in detail at the world of work, our academics discuss the care burden on women throughout the crisis and the implications of the economic fallout. The panel address the solutions needed to ensure that women can look forward to a fairer world.

Jill Rubery took part, commenting that “There’s a very high risk that women will be losing employment once job retention schemes and furlough comes to an end”

University of Manchester webinar and podcast, 25 June 2020


Valuing workers: how do cities need to change in the post-pandemic economy?

Coronavirus has shone a spotlight on many of the inequalities that some people face in the workplace. On average, the wealthier you are the less likely you are to come into close contact with others, and people in cities in southern England are more likely to be able to work from home than those in the north – shielding them from the health risks posed by the pandemic. Yet even before the virus hit, the labour market was changing quickly. Automation means fewer workers will need to carry out manual activities and technology theoretically makes it easier for office-based workers to work from home.

Tony Dundon took part in this webinar with Elena Magrini, Senior Analyst for Centre for Cities.

Centre for Cities webinar and podcast, 25 June 2020


The future after furlough

On Wednesday 10 June Jill Rubery took part in the CIPD Festival of Work, joining a panel discussing 'The future after furlough'.


COVID-19 - Avoiding an employment cliff-edge

With more than six million UK workers now having their wages paid by the state and 800,000 employers using the government's job retention scheme, just how viable is the scheme in the long-run? Is it feasible to extend the scheme beyond its current cut-off date of the end of June, and if so how should the government be looking to adapt and extend the scheme further? Likewise, what future shape should other employment protection measures taken in the wake of COVID-19, such as help for the self-employed, now take as we come out of lockdown?

Jill Rubery took part in an Original Thinking webinar debating the viability of the government's job retention scheme in the long-run, and related questions.

AMBS Webinar and podcast, 20 May 2020

Seminars and events 2020-21

Work and Equalities Seminars 2020-2021

The Value of Human Labour

Download the poster.

Listen to the podcast.

This session, the first of two, presents an interdisciplinary discussion of critical issues confronting human labour under Covid-19.

The Covid-19 pandemic is having a profound impact on work and working lives. This has ignited an important debate on the value of human labour, which has increased awareness of the criticality of a wide range of jobs, many of which have been traditionally undervalued, both politically and socially.

The UK government’s definition of ‘key workers’ amount to 7.1 million adults, many of which are underpaid, working in insecure jobs and operating in public-facing roles. Among key workers, Black, Asian, and working-class groups make up a disproportionately large share, leaving them far more exposed to infection. Additionally, sectors dominated by female workers, such as retail and hospitality, have been hit hard by variations of lockdown, placing them at increased risk of both job loss and furlough. Uncertainty surrounding schooling and childcare provision adds an extra burden.

Gender, growth and devolution: policy problems and political possibilities.
Francesca Gains: Professor of Public Policy, Academic Co-Director of Policy@Manchester and member of the Greater Manchester Women and Girls’ Equality Panel.

Bogus self-employment and Covid-19: an added layer of insecurity.
Martí López-Andreu: Senior Lecturer in HRM and Employment Relations, Newcastle University, and an associate member of the Work and Equalities Institute.

#HereToDeliver: Valuing food delivery workers in the future.
Cristina Inversi: Research Fellow in Labour Law at Università Statale di Milano and a member of the Work and Equalities Institute Institute.
Tony Dundon: Professor of HRM and Employment Relations at Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick, and Visiting Professor at the Work and Equalities Institute.

Transport and logistics during the Covid-19 pandemic: Keeping goods in the UK moving.
Sheena Johnson: Professor of Work Psychology and Wellbeing at the University of Manchester. She heads up the Fair Treatment at Work theme in the Work and Equalities Institute, and the Social Change and Ageing theme in the Thomas Ashton Institute, University of Manchester.


MIRS and Work and Equalities Institute

COVID at work: the rich get richer, the poor get poorer.

Janet Newsham, Chair of the National Hazards Campaign and Coordinator at Greater Manchester Hazards Centre
Steve Tombs, Professor of Criminology at The Open University

Thursday 12 November 2020


BUIRA special seminar

COVID-19 and the centrality of the employment relationship.

Tony Dobbins (University of Birmingham, BUIRA President): the context of Covid-19 and the relevance of employment relations.
Abbie Winton and Debra Howcroft (University of Manchester): What Covid-19 tells us about the value of human labour.
Jo McBride (University of Durham) and Miguel Martínez Lucio (University of Manchester): Recognising the value of cleaning work.
Phil Taylor (University of Strathclyde): Call Centres and Coronavirus report.

Wednesday 4 November 2020


MIRS annual Arthur Priest Memorial Lecture, jointly with the CIPD and Work and Equalities Institute

Managing organisational culture: Lessons from COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter.

Professor Emmanuel Ogbonna, Professor of Management and Organization, Cardiff University.

Thursday 15 October 2020


Annual Lecture 2020

Unfortunately, restrictions caused by COVID-19 meant that we were unable to hold the 2020 annual lecture.

We are currently planning the 2021 annual lecture and details will appear here as they are finalised.

PGR events

Tackling contemporary research challenges in uncertain times

Postgraduate Researchers’ Seminar Series 2020-21

The Work and Equalities Institute is pleased to announce a new online seminar series open to all Postgraduate Researchers (PGR). The series will discuss the current Covid-19 context and the challenges faced conducting research within this. This series will aim to address the different challenges that PGRs who research work and inequalities are experiencing, and will aim to provide them with some of the tools needed to address and overcome these issues. Our speakers will provide their top tips on a variety of topics and will reflect on the different methodological tools they employed throughout their careers.


‘Re-framing your research’

6 November 2020 (1pm-2.30pm) Speaker: Professor Valeria Pulignano (KU Leuven)

Every research project evolves and changes, as new challenges and new questions present themselves; the current pandemic is one such situation. In this session, we will hear from established academics about their experiences reshaping major research projects and how they are tackling constraints of researching within the current context. It should also provide an opportunity for PGRs to share some of their concerns and talk through practical solutions to re-thinking research projects in the current context.

Read more about the seminar and registration details.


'How to utilise secondary data sources and an introduction to UK Data Service'

29 January 2020 (1pm-2.30pm)
Speaker: Sarah King-Hele (UKDS)

Throughout the pandemic, it has become increasingly important to access secondary data sources for research. This interactive session aims to introduce PGRs to accessing and utilising secondary data useful for researching inequalities, in particular national-level data such as the Labour Force Survey (LFS), Understanding Society, Workplace Employment Relations Study (WERS), UK census data etc . Sarah King-Hele from the UK Data Service will discuss what data is available for researchers and how to access it. Ceri Hughes and Sanne Velthuis from the Work and Equalities Institute regularly use these resources in their own research and will discuss how they use this data and how to get started.

Read more about the seminar and registration details.

Download the poster.


'Conducting remote research’

9 April 2020 (1pm-2.30pm)
Speaker: TBC

During Covid-19, online interviewing has become increasingly important for qualitative researchers to be able to conduct their research. This session will be led by current PGRs and an experienced academic who has done innovative remote research, who will discuss their experiences, and challenges they faced conducting such research. Questions that will be asked include: 'How to build rapport without being physically present?' and 'how to deal with access when interviewing remotely'.


‘Ethnocentrism in research and social protest’

4 June 2020 (1pm-2.30pm)
Speaker: TBC


Policy Discussion

Policy Discussion

Planning is underway for the next WEI open policy discussion