Events

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

Forthcoming events

50 Years Since the Chilean Coup: Reflecting on its Influence on Labour Relations

Date: Thursday 12 October 2023
Time: 15:00 - 17:00
Venue: Alliance Manchester Business School 3.013a
Zoom:https://zoom.us/j/92789316627
Passcode Chile

Refreshments will be available from 14:30.

Speakers include Luis Villazón, head of the Labour Relations Division, Labour Inspection, Chile; Stephen Mustchin, Senior Lecturer, Work and Equalities Institute, The University of Manchester; Lucas Cifuentes, Alejandro Castillo and Angel Martin, Doctoral Researchers, Work and Equalities Institute, The University of Manchester.

Overview

September 11, 2023, marked the 50th anniversary of one of the darkest episodes in Chilean history: the coup d'état and the beginning of Augusto Pinochet’s 17 years dictatorship. This event was characterized not only by the systematic violation of human rights and the dismantling of left-wing politics and popular movements but also by a radical transformation of the country's political and economic system, particularly its labour relations model and the nature of workers’ power.

This radical transformation turned Chile into the "neoliberal experiment" that served as a blueprint for global political leaders like Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom and Ronald Reagan in the United States. In this context, it is crucial to reflect on the historical and political significance of this event and its connection to the economic transformation experiences of other nations. Particularly with regard to the suppression of a socialist project in which the workers and their organisations were the main protagonists, and the implementation of a strongly anti-worker and anti-union model, which for many still prevails.

We would like to invite you to participate in a seminar where we will explore the historical project that workers crafted during the period known as the "Unidad Popular" (1970-1973), which was interrupted by the coup. We will also examine the subsequent regulatory changes brought about by the "Labour Plan" implemented during the dictatorship, the fundamental pillars of which still endure today. Additionally, we will analyse the political nature of these reforms and their relation to the trajectories of countries like the United Kingdom in the post-1980s era, as well as the implications of this profound transformation on the labour landscape and the leftwing parties up to the present day.

You are invited to join this seminar, featuring labour and employment researchers delivering three presentations addressing these critical themes, followed by interventions of critical discussants.

Presentations

  1. The political project of the workers in the Unidad Popular and the radical transformation of the model of labour relations with the dictatorship's Labour Plan.
    Lucas Cifuentes, Alejandro Castillo and Angel Martin, Doctoral Researchers at the Work and Equalities Institute, The University of Manchester.
  2. Links and influence of British politics in the Chilean experience.
    Dr. Stephen Mustchin, Work and Equalities Institute, The University of Manchester
  3. ‘Reforming the reforms’: the challenges in Chile to put an end to the legacy of the dictatorship in the world of work.
    Luis Villazón, head of the Labour Relations Division, Labour Inspection, Chile

Discussants

Ralph Darlington, Emeritus Professor, University of Salford
Dr. Francisca Alvarez, Work and Equalities Institute, The University of Manchester
Professor Miguel Martinez Lucio, Work and Equalities Institute, The University of Manchester.
Professor Jill Rubery, Managing Director of the Work and Equalities Institute, The University of Manchester.


 A sociological approach to personnel selection process

Speaker: Dr Sabrina Colombo, University of Milan
Date: Tuesday 24th October
Time: 12:00 – 13:00
Venue: Alliance Manchester Business School 3.049
Refreshments will be available from 11:45

Abstract

This book arises from the need to fill an important theoretical-analytical gap in the literature on personnel selection. While this goal is ambitious, it is necessary for considering the selection process in all its components and not just the two extremes: macro by economics and micro by psychologists. These are both very important approaches, but they are too often decontextualized and too normative to be able to provide a comprehensive picture of the personnel selection process.

A second important novelty of this book, along with the international sociological approach, concerns the presence of in-depth studies (the boxes in each chapter) and exercises (in the mylab platform) created specifically for the book by two professionals who have been working in the field of personnel selection at the international level for many years and who have decades of experience in staff training. Therefore, the ambitious goal of this project is to create a new, interactive and strongly postgraduate teaching-oriented book for students in Europe and beyond.

About the speaker

Sabrina Colombo is Associate Professor in Economic Sociology at the University of Milan (Italy). She teaches Hiring and Recruitment in the two years post-graduate degree “Management of Human Resources”. Her research interests are on labour market inequalities and Industrial Relations.

Recent publications include:
Colombo S. (2023), The Personnel Selection Process: Methods and contexts in changing labor markets, Pearson, ISBN 9788891932211
Colombo S., Marino S. (2023), Regulation and representation in Italian industrial relations: between continuities and contradictions, In Carlos Fernández Rodríguez and Miguel Martínez Lucio (Eds.)Work and employment relations in southern Europe, Edward Elgar, ISBN 978 1 78990 953 1;  
Colombo S., Natali D., Pavolini E. (2023) Employers and Labour Market Policy, in Daniel Clegg and Nicolò Durazzi (Eds.), Handbook of Labour Market Policy in Advanced Democracies, Edward Elgar.

 

Seminars and events 2023-24

The Formation of Worker Collectivism among Migrant Workers in Denmark, Germany, and the UK

Speaker: Dr Aleksandra Markovic, University of Aalborg
Date: Monday 12 February 2024
Time: 12:00 - 13:00
Room: AMBS 3.008
Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/98299867742
Passcode: 090207
Refreshments will be available from 11:45

Abstract

The presentation will outline the primary objectives and challenges of the research project "The formation of worker collectivism among migrant workers in Denmark, Germany and the UK" and share some preliminary results. The central inquiry of the research is: When and under what conditions do migrant workers define their labour market interests (and the means to achieve these) in collective rather than individual terms? The primary goal is to identify instances where migrant workers, collectively, have taken action to enhance their working conditions or other aspects of their work life.

The project adopts a comparative approach, concentrating on Denmark, Germany, and the UK. Methodologically, the research involved in-depth qualitative interviews with migrants, along with consultations with experts and representatives from organizations such as unions, employer associations, and NGOs. The research in the UK predominantly focuses on agricultural migrant workers and the presentation will include a case study detailing the wildcat strike initiated by Latin American agricultural seasonal workers at Haygrove Farm in Herefordshire, England, in July 2023.

About the speaker

Dr Markovics has studied and researched various aspects of society from different sub-fields of sociology, both in academic and non-academic areas. Her research interests are broad but centred around the following topics: social inequality and stratification, political sociology, labour market, and migration.

The main objectives of her Ph.D. thesis have been directed toward determining whether the precariat could be viewed as a separate class or stratum and discovering potentially specific ideologies that could be linked to the precariat in Serbia. She showed that precarity per se is still not sufficiently distinctive in the labour market and does not represent a key determinant of structuring society.

Aleksandra is a researcher within the project "The formation of worker collectivism among migrant workers in Denmark, Germany and the UK" (Aalborg University, Denmark). She has been a visiting researcher at the University of Manchester, researching migrants' collectivist perceptions, norms, and labour market strategies to improve their working life.

Full details can be downloaded here.


Lessons of leadership from Mick Lynch, RMT union general secretary and 'working-class hero'.

Manchester Industrial Relations Society and Manchester University Press Book Launch event.

Speaker: Professor Gregor Gall, University of Leeds and University of Glasgow
Date: Thursday 08 February 2024
Time: 17:00 – 18:30
Venue: Alliance Manchester Business School Room 3.008
Refreshments will be available from 16:30

This will be held as a hybrid in-person/ online event – online access is available via this Zoom registration link,  please let us know via the same link whether you will be attending in person: registration.

Abstract

Mick Lynch emerged almost from nowhere in the early summer of 2022 to become a 'working-class hero', turning sectional demands into generalised demands and articulating the anger of millions against the Tories and the growing levels of economic and social inequality in Britain.

However, that 'soft' power has not easily translated into 'hard' power and neither has the 'power to' (disrupt) turned into 'power over' (the bargaining opponent). This talk based on Gregor Gall’s newly published book – Mick Lynch: The making of a working-class hero – examines his role in accounting for these outcomes as the leader of the RMT union. It draws out conclusions about understanding the nature of power in the current political period, strategic planning (and the lack thereof) and participative leadership.

About the speaker

Gregor Gall is visiting professor of industrial relations at the University of Leeds and an affiliate research associate at the University of Glasgow. He was previously professor of industrial relations at the universities of Stirling, Hertfordshire and Bradford. He is author and editor of over twenty books and 130 peer reviewed journal articles on unions and industrial relations.


A sociological approach to personnel selection process

Speaker: Dr Sabrina Colombo, University of Milan
Date: Tuesday 24th October
Time: 12:00 – 13:00
Room: 3.049
Refreshments will be available from 11:45

Abstract

This book arises from the need to fill an important theoretical-analytical gap in the literature on personnel selection. While this goal is ambitious, it is necessary for considering the selection process in all its components and not just the two extremes: macro by economics and micro by psychologists. These are both very important approaches, but they are too often decontextualized and too normative to be able to provide a comprehensive picture of the personnel selection process.

A second important novelty of this book, along with the international sociological approach, concerns the presence of in-depth studies (the boxes in each chapter) and exercises (in the mylab platform) created specifically for the book by two professionals who have been working in the field of personnel selection at the international level for many years and who have decades of experience in staff training. Therefore, the ambitious goal of this project is to create a new, interactive and strongly postgraduate teaching-oriented book for students in Europe and beyond.

About the speaker

Sabrina Colombo is Associate Professor in Economic Sociology at the University of Milan (Italy). She teaches Hiring and Recruitment in the two years post-graduate degree “Management of Human Resources”. Her research interests are on labour market inequalities and Industrial Relations.

Recent publications include:
Colombo S. (2023), The Personnel Selection Process: Methods and contexts in changing labor markets, Pearson, ISBN 9788891932211
Colombo S., Marino S. (2023), Regulation and representation in Italian industrial relations: between continuities and contradictions, In Carlos Fernández Rodríguez and Miguel Martínez Lucio (Eds.)Work and employment relations in southern Europe, Edward Elgar, ISBN 978 1 78990 953 1;  
Colombo S., Natali D., Pavolini E. (2023) Employers and Labour Market Policy, in Daniel Clegg and Nicolò Durazzi (Eds.), Handbook of Labour Market Policy in Advanced Democracies, Edward Elgar.

 

Annual Lecture 2023

Work and Equalities Institute Fifth Annual Lecture

Why do workers leave the labour force?
Pandemic-era work transitions in the US and Germany

Prof Ian Greer, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University.

Date: Thursday 18th May
Time: 11:00 to 12:30

Venue: Alliance Manchester Business School Lecture Pod B.
Register via Eventbrite

Tea and coffee available from 10:30, lunch at 12:30

Download details.

Abstract

Once celebrated as a powerful engine of job creation, the US labour market has performed poorly over the past two decades. Unemployment rates have become increasingly volatile, unemployment durations have become longer, and labour force participation has declined. In this talk I examine some of the reasons for this change, drawing on a longitudinal qualitative study of US and German workers who experienced a spell of unemployment during the pandemic. I argue that some of the US’s more illiberal institutions create severe barriers to workers attempting to make transitions to work, and that supports such as unemployment insurance fail to compensate.

About the speaker

Ian Greer directs the ILR Ithaca Co-Lab and is a Research Professor. He carries out engaged research and teaching in Ithaca and the surrounding region. Before he moved to Ithaca he worked for nearly 10 years based in England, first as a Research Fellow at Leeds University and then as Professor of Comparative Employment Relations and Director of the Work and Employment Research Unit at the University of Greenwich. He has had visiting positions in Aix-en-Provence, Berlin, Cologne, Chemnitz, Jena, Paris, and Sydney.

Ian uses qualitative comparative methods to examine marketization and its effects in industrial relations and welfare states. His early work explored how German and US trade unions were coping with intensified price-based competition, through international solidarity, collective bargaining, coalitions with civil society, and organizing the unorganized. Over the years he has extended this line of questioning to examine the way that managers and policymakers stage competition across Europe, in multinational automakers, welfare-to-work schemes, social work, health care, ports, and music.

https://cornell.academia.edu/IanGreer

Inaugural Lecture: Professor Sheena Johnson

Inaugural Lecture: Professor Sheena Johnson

Research with impact: health and wellbeing, ageing workforce and Covid-19

Wednesday 18 May 16:30 - 17:30

In person at Alliance Manchester Business School (online also available)

The lecture is available to view here.

In her Inaugural Lecture Sheena will detail her research into health and wellbeing at work. She will outline her early work into occupational differences and wellbeing related outcomes, before detailing her more recent focus on the ageing workforce which formed an impact case for REF2021 and led her to create the ‘Age, Health and Professional Drivers’ Network’. She will also talk about her ongoing work in the PROTECT COVID-19 National Core Study where she has investigated the impact of the pandemic on workers and workplaces.

Sheena Johnson is an Occupational and Chartered Psychologist registered with the Health and Care Professions Council. She is an active researcher into the topics of stress and health and the ageing workforce. She established the ‘Age, Health and Professional Drivers’ Network, comprising transport and logistics firms, unions and industry representatives with an interest in age and health and wellbeing in the transport sector, which builds capacity in the sector to exchange knowledge and best practice.

The event will be facilitated by Elinor O'Connor, Professor of Occupational Psychology, Director of Teaching and Learning, and Deputy Head of Alliance Manchester Business School.

A drinks reception will follow the event in AMBS reception.

Register for the lecture here.


The Value of Human Labour seminar series

The Value of Human Labour

This session presented 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.

Speakers included
Francesca Gains: Professor of Public Policy, Academic Co-Director of Policy@Manchester and member of the Greater Manchester Women and Girls’ Equality Panel.
Martí López-Andreu: Senior Lecturer in HRM and Employment Relations, Newcastle University, and an associate member of the Work and Equalities Institute.
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.
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.

Download the poster.

Listen to the podcast.

See the slides:
Gender, growth and devolution: Francesca Gains.
Bogus self-employment and Covid-19: Martí López-Andreu.
#HereToDeliver: Tony Dundon and Cristina Inversi.


The Value of Human Labour 2

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

Abbie Winton: 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: Professor of Technology and Organisation at the Work and Equalities Institute and Editor of New Technology, Work and Employment.
Jill Rubery: Professor of Comparative Employment Systems and Director of the Work and Equalities Institute.
Jo McBride: Professor at the University of Durham.
Miguel Martinez Lucio: Professor at the Work & Equalities Institute and Editor of New Technology, Work and Employment.
Anthony Rafferty: Professor of Employment Studies at the University of Manchester and a Deputy Director of the Work and Equalities Institute (WEI).
Stefania Marino: Senior Lecturer in Employment Studies at the University of Manchester.

Listen to the podcast.

See the slides:
Beyond work intensification: Jo McBride and Miguel Martinez Lucio.
Sharing the load: Jill Rubery and Isabel Tavora.
Conflicting Covid narratives: Abbie Winton and Debra Howcroft
COVID-19 and the importance of migrant labour in the UK: Stefania Marino, Anthony Rafferty and Miguel Martinez Lucio