Conference

Conferences

Upcoming and Previous BUIRA Conferences

BUIRA Annual Conference 2022: Why Employment Relations Matter(s) for Democratizing Work

University of Birmingham, June 28th-30th 2022

 

Plenaries: 

Why race and intersectionality matter for IR:

Tamara Lee (Rutgers University, US)

 

How and Where Employment Relations Matter(s):

Paul Edwards 

 

Why green industrial relations matter(s) for climate emergency:

Linda Clarke (University of Westminster

Béla Galgóczi (European Trade Union Institute)

Vera Trappmann (University of Leeds)

 

Conference theme

The theme of this year’s conference is Why Employment Relations Matter(s) for Democratizing Work.

Keith Sisson (2009, 2020) outlines Why Employment Relations MattersEmployment relations matters is a ten chapter text publicly available under a Creative Commons Licence. It has a double intention reflected in its title: to ensure people are up to date with the matters that the study of employment relations deals with and to explain why they matter. It has two main audiences in mind. First, people who teach and study employment relations. Second, practitioners and policy-makers.

Unsurprisingly, BUIRA has long argued that Employment Relations Matter(s). In ‘What’s The Point of Industrial Relations?’ the message was clear: ‘The agenda of industrial relations research and teaching thus has fundamental moral and practical importance’ than many other fields of study in contemporary business schools (BUIRA 2009, 53).

Employment relations commentators have also recently shown Why Employment Relations Matters. For example, Hodder and Martínez Lucio’s (2021) paper ‘Pandemics, politics, and the resilience of employment relations research’ suggests that the Covid-19 pandemic has appeared to change the public narrative on work and employment, and highlighted the continued relevance and value of employment relations as a field of study. They conclude that the Covid crisis has highlighted the resilience of the field of employment relations, reminding us of its critical relevance to academic and public interest. They outline the challenges faced by academics and practitioners in the field of employment relations to build upon this new found attention to ensure that employment relations issues remain central in terms of research, teaching and public policy.

Why Employment Relations Matters for Democratizing (and Decommodifying) Work has been strongly illustrated in the context of the Coronavirus public health pandemic. The pandemic has highlighted just how vital human work of social (not financial) value is for keeping human life and society functioning. Human workers are not merely commodities or human ‘resources’.

IR/ER and politics of work scholars have been at the forefront and contributed extensively to research and public policy during the pandemic to showcase why Employment Relations Matter(s) for Democratizing Work. To provide just a few illustrative examples: The social value of human labour during Covid (Martinez Lucio and McBride, 2020Winton and Howcroft, 2020); analysis of the furlough/job retention scheme (Stuart et al., 2021); the real living wage and addressing cost of living increases (Dobbins and Prowse, 2021); the effect of Covid on workers’ health and safety in places like call centres (Taylor, 2020).

That said, a clear message that emerged from the 2021 BUIRA conference is that there is scope for our field to extend it’s contribution to vital social matters like intersectionality – the intersection of identities around issues like gender, sexuality, race and class (Lee and Tapia, 2021McBride et al., 2015Moore and Taylor, 2021). Intersectionality is a domain where employment relations does and should matter. There is also potential for work and employment scholars to contribute to thinking and public policy debates on green IR and climate crisis (Clarke and Lipsig-Mummé, 2020).

Evidently, the field of ER/IR has broadened considerably thematically since the early historical focus on collective bargaining and IR institutions and rules. However, it needs to continually adapt and update to address issues arising in the real world of the politics of work. 

Call for Papers

The conference team welcome papers on any sub-theme under the broad theme of Why Employment Relations Matter(s) for Democratizing Work. Illustrative examples of sub-themes include:

  • Implications of Coronavirus for the future of work (e.g. flexible working);
  • Green industrial relations, green jobs, climate crisis;
  • Intersectionality, equality, gender, race, class, disability, and IR;
  • New technology, the gig economy and the politics of work;
  • The social value of human labour and skills;
  • Decent work and job quality;
  • Power, politics, influence and voice at work;
  • The future of trade unions;
  • Comparative employment relations;
  • The history and future of IR;
  • Living wages and low pay;
  • Political economy of work (e.g. austerity, financialisation, fragmentation, flexibilisation and inequality);
  • New forms of collective action in the workplace, and new agents of resistance.

 

Submission details

Link for abstract submission: https://forms.gle/GUcfKK1hJ3jXaJWn7

Abstracts should be a maximum of 500 words in length and cover the following headings:

  •         Brief outline
  •         Methodology
  •         Key findings
  •         References

Deadline for submission of abstracts: 17th January 2022

All abstracts are refereed anonymously by BUIRA Executive Committee members.

Conference fee £190 full and £70 PhD 

There will also be a pre-conference Doctoral Workshop on Monday June 27th. Details to follow.

28th June to 30th June 2022

BUIRA Conference 2021: The past, present and future of industrial relations and the politics of work

July 13th to 15th 2021

Registration is now open for the BUIRA 2021 Annual Conference. Registration is free for BUIRA members and can be done through Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/buira-conference-2021-tickets-158582643957 

 If you are not already a member, please join BUIRA here: http://buira.org/membership 

We have created a new conference website to host the programme. Zoom links will be added for each of the sessions nearer the time. To see the preliminary programme, please visit: https://sites.google.com/view/buira2021/ If you want to request changes to the programme, please do so by 5pm on Friday 9th July. We will endeavour to accommodate changes where possible. 

 

 

Plenary Speakers:

Judy Wajcman http://www.lse.ac.uk/sociology/people/judy-wajcman

Anne McBride https://www.research.manchester.ac.uk/portal/a.mcbride.html

Jenny K Rodriguez https://www.research.manchester.ac.uk/portal/jenny.rodriguez.html 

Sian Moore https://www.gre.ac.uk/people/rep/faculty-of-business/sian-moore

Kirsty Newsome https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/management/staff/kirsty_newsome/index

Jean Jenkins https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/people/view/610450-jenkins-jean

The conference will also feature an 'Early Career Researcher Plenary Pannel' and a 'Work in the Real World' Special Session with Ian Allinson (President of the Manchester TUC) and others.

Call for Abstracts 

Due to Covid, the 2021 conference will be a virtual online event, but with potential for some hybrid participation at Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, if public health allows. A decision regarding on campus activities will be communicated no later than 30 April 2021. Information about plenary speakers and non-paper sessions will be provided once confirmed. 

The 2021 conference will be FREE to BUIRA members. Non-members will only need to pay the £40 BUIRA (£20 for PhD students and associate members) membership fee.

Call for papers 

BUIRA turning 70 last year presents a good opportunity to reflect on the past, present and future of industrial relations. This was the topic of the postponed 2020 conference, and, if anything, is more salient than ever. Despite facing recent challenges, the field of industrial relations continues to be a vital topic of academic and practitioner enquiry. Issues that have long been central within the study of industrial relations, such as pay, collective bargaining, rights at work, employee representation, national and transnational forms of regulation, health and safety, job (in)security, precarity, equality and diversity, and workplace conflict are highly prominent within many current political and academic debates. Understanding the politics of work, grounded in a critical social science tradition, is crucial for academics and policy makers alike.  

Where are we now? How have we got here, and what should the future of the field look like? Reflecting on historical developments in industrial relations is crucial in order to ground and contextualise current developments in the world of work. History matters in helping us to understand the changing nature of industrial relations, and yet is often overlooked in modern accounts of work relations. It is also important to reflect on pressing current issues. Most notably, what has/will continue to be the implications of Coronavirus for employment relations and the future of work? This was the subject of the BUIRA Special Seminar on November 4th 2020, and an ongoing research issue for BUIRA members. What about the continuing impact of austerity and the 2008 financial crisis in a more financialised world, increasing inequality, as well as economic and social challenges caused by the Covid pandemic and Brexit? What have been the consequences for public sector industrial relations? What is the impact of patterns of precarious work and non-standard employment relationships on the changing nature of work and employment, skills and the quality of work? Across all of these questions, issues of social class, equality and diversity remain more relevant than ever before. Looking to the future, one key question concerns the extent to which unions can play an active role with social movements to tackle climate breakdown. How is power deployed and distributed at work? How much voice and influence do employees have? Whither economic and industrial democracy at work?

We welcome empirical (both quantitative and qualitative), analytical, conceptual and methodological papers that concern any area of industrial relations, or fields cognate to industrial relations. We would particularly appreciate submissions from early career researchers and doctoral students. Papers concerning topics under the following headings will be particularly welcome:

  •         The implications of Covid for employment relations and futures of work
  •         The implications of Brexit for work and employment relations
  •         Reflections and challenges for Equality and Diversity, and challenging the gender pay gap
  •         The consequences of new technology, digitalisation and the growth of platforms for work and industrial relations
  •         Climate emergency and industrial relations
  •         Comparative and international industrial relations
  •         Political economy of work (e.g. austerity, financialisation, fragmentation, flexibilisation and inequality)
  •         New forms of collective action in the workplace and beyond, and new agents of resistance
  •         The rise of populism/nationalism and industrial relations
  •         Power, politics, voice and influence at work

 

CfP: BUIRA Doctoral Workshop - ‘Critical Friendship in Industrial Relations Research’

This year BUIRA organises a one-day pre-conference Doctoral Workshop, which will take place in online on Monday 12th July 2021 (the afternoon prior to the main BUIRA Annual Conference: Time TBC). Following a previous successful session run with Professor Melanie Simms in 2016, this is an exercise in critical friendship where all participants circulate a piece of written work three-weeks before the session. This workshop offers a unique opportunity to get to know fellow academics and postgraduate research students in the field, exercise critical thinking and receive constructive feedback to your ideas from an expert outside of your supervisory team.   

Please submit abstracts to register your interest by Tuesday 18th May 2021. We will then be in touch to confirm your place. The deadline for the ‘full paper’ or any written work you intend to submit is Friday 18th June 2021. Please submit via e-mail: admin@buira.org.

Please also note that we are happy to accept the same submission for both the Doctoral Workshop and the Doctoral Prize sponsored by the BJIR.

The session will be chaired by Professor Miguel Martínez Lucio, co-director of the Work & Equalities Institute (AMBS, University of Manchester) and Co-editor in Chief of New Technology Work and Employment. Miguel will be joined by several critical friends and experts in their respective fields including: Robert MacKenzie (Karlstat University, Sweden); Peter Prowse (Sheffield Hallam University); Tony Dundon (AMBS and University of Limerick); Jane Holgate (University of Leeds); Peter Turnbull (University of Bristol); Jo McBride (University of Durham); Vera Trappmann (University of Leeds); Chris Forde (University of Leeds) and others TBC.

We aim to split the session into thematic areas with one or two critical friends facilitating each session (aiming for a ratio of approximately 1:4). The broad themes are as follows*:

(1) Industrial relations and critical HRM

(2) New technologies and the future of work

(3) Institutional regulation and H&S

(4) Intersectionality and employment inequalities

*Please note these may be subject to change depending on the submissions.

Outline of the session

The piece of written work does NOT have to be a full conference paper. It can be a case study, developed literature review, methods-section, reflection piece (or any interim-style paper), as well as more fully developed papers or thesis chapters. The aim of this is to be inclusive to researchers at all stages of their doctoral projects.

There are three main objectives:

  • To provide a forum for doctoral students to receive feedback on their ideas no matter where they are in the project.
  • To develop the skills, culture and practice of critical friendship within BUIRA.
  • To provide a forum for discussion significantly different from usual conference papers.

Participants will submit a piece of written work before the session. An indicative maximum word length is 4,000 words in order to keep the pre-workshop workload manageable. We have chosen this word length to be complimentary of the length of the submission for the doctoral best paper prize, but submissions can also be as short as the participant wishes. The objective is that participants submit something they think they can get useful feedback on through the process of critical friendship.

Written work is NOT anonymised nor peer reviewed for acceptance. The only requirement for participating in the session is that someone is a doctoral student in the broad area of industrial relations. We are happy to accept submissions from doctoral students not presenting in the conference on the condition that they are a BUIRA member. Please note we are asking for abstracts only to organise them thematically and ensure we have contacted an appropriate number of critical friends.

All written work is collated a circulated to all participants prior to the event along with guidance for principles of critical friendship in this document. All participants must read all written submissions in advance of the session and prepare feedback in line with the principles of critical friendship.

Any participant who does not submit a written document will not be allowed to attend the session. It is essential that critical friendship is reciprocal.

Each piece of submitted work is then discussed by the group, led by the facilitator, and feedback is given. This can range from questions about the premise of the argument, suggestions for improvement and development, etc. Principles of respect and support are agreed in advance and it is the responsibility of all to ensure they are upheld.

 

Best Doctoral Student Paper Award sponsored by the British Journal of Industrial Relations Wiley, the publisher of the British Journal of Industrial Relations, have kindly agreed to sponsor a £250 prize for the best written conference paper at the 2021 BUIRA annual conference.

This award is BUIRA’s distinction given to the best doctoral student paper presented at the annual BUIRA conference. Following acceptance of an initial abstract, doctoral students are invited to submit papers ahead of conference that proceed through a blind review process to determine the winner of the competition. The award is typically accompanied by a £250 prize. The recipient is invited to receive the award during the President’s address held at the beginning of the conference.

Doctoral students interested in submitting a paper for this award must have had a paper accepted for presentation at the annual conference and must be a fully paid-up student member of BUIRA.

To be considered for the award:

  • Papers must be sole authored;
  • Papers should be no longer than 4,000 words, not including references, abstract and appendices. They should be in 12 point font, double spaced with page numbers at the bottom of each page
  • Papers should begin with a cover page containing the title and an abstract of no more than 200 words outlining the purpose of the paper, the methods used and the main conclusion/ argument
  • Papers can be empirical or theoretical and can cover any general area of employment relations. They should be structured in an appropriate way (see below)

Papers should, in general, be clearly structured and contain:

  • Introduction– that sets out the focus of the paper, its relevance and key research questions
  • Review– a review of key background literature, the limitations of current debate and the rationale and contribution of the paper (theoretical and historical essays will tend to be structured as an extended review)
  • Methods– an account of the methods used, why such methods were appropriate and how data were collated and analysed. Quantitative papers should make it clear what techniques were used and set out key measures and variables (dependent, independent, controls etc)
  • Findings– should analyse relevant data in a way that clearly seeks to address the main research questions/ themes of the paper. Where interview quotations are used they should follow recognised conventions. Likewise, quantitative data should be reported in an appropriate tabular format and include key tests of significance.
  • Discussion and conclusions– this section should draw together the main findings of the paper and relate them back to the key questions animating the paper and how this contributes to wider debate (the conclusion should not simply summarise the findings)
  • References– to be presented in Harvard format.

The deadline for the submission of full papers is: 18th June 2021

Papers should be sent to: admin@buira.org and will be blind reviewed by all members of the committee.

13th July to 15th July 2021

Postponed: BUIRA 70th Anniversary Conference 2020: The past, present and future of industrial relations and the politics of work

30th June to 2nd July 2020

Plenary Speakers:

Judy Wajcman http://www.lse.ac.uk/sociology/people/judy-wajcman

Anne McBride https://www.research.manchester.ac.uk/portal/a.mcbride.html

Gail Hebson https://www.research.manchester.ac.uk/portal/gail.hebson.html

Jane Holgate https://business.leeds.ac.uk/research-ceric/staff/521/jane-holgate

Sian Moore https://www.gre.ac.uk/people/rep/faculty-of-business/sian-moore

Kirsty Newsome https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/management/staff/kirsty_newsome/index

Jean Jenkins https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/people/view/610450-jenkins-jean

Call for papers 

BUIRA turning 70 presents a good opportunity to reflect on the past, present and future of industrial relations. Despite facing recent challenges, the field of industrial relations continues to be a vital topic of academic and practitioner enquiry. Issues that have long been central within the study of industrial relations, such as pay, collective bargaining, rights at work, employee representation, national and transnational forms of regulation, health and safety, job (in)security, precarity, and workplace conflict are highly prominent within many current political and academic debates. Understanding the politics of work, grounded in a critical social science tradition, is crucial for academics and policy makers alike.  

IR continues to face a tough institutional environment. In the university, ‘HRM’ and ‘people and work’ has overtaken ‘industrial relations’ in the nomenclature of courses and modules. Within organisations and workplaces, trade unions continue to struggle to maintain a presence and voice for workers. While many university departments may nevertheless offer critical perspectives on work and employment, there is concern that the way ‘HRM’ is taught in some business schools may lack a sufficient diversity of perspectives and critical engagement with hegemonic neoliberalism. This in turn could lead to a potential ‘immiseration’ of the subject matter, and an inability to prevent or address trends such as the spread of precarious work, and the growing problem of in-work poverty (Dundon and Rafferty, 2018). At the same time, IR scholarship is often accused of being theoretically weak, suffering from a descriptive, and institutional bias, i.e. focusing on the dwindling institutions of trade unions and collective bargaining (Kelly, 1998). 

Where are we now? How have we got here, and what should the future of the field look like? Reflecting on historical developments in industrial relations is crucial in order to ground and contextualise current developments in the world of work. History matters in helping us to understand the changing nature of industrial relations, and yet is often overlooked in modern accounts of work relations. It is also important to reflect on pressing current issues such as the impact of austerity and the crisis in an increasingly financialised world. What have been their consequences for public sector industrial relations? What is the impact of patterns of precarious work and non-standard employment relationships on the changing nature of work and employment, skills and the quality of work? Across all of these questions, issues of social class, equality and diversity remain more relevant than ever before. Looking to the future, one key question concerns the extent to which unions can play an active role with social movements to tackle climate breakdown. 

We welcome empirical (both quantitative and qualitative), analytical, conceptual and methodological papers that concern any area of industrial relations, or fields cognate to industrial relations. We would particularly appreciate submissions from early career researchers and doctoral students. Papers concerning topics under the following headings will be particularly welcome:

  • Reflections and challenges for Equality and Diversity, and challenging the gender pay gap
  • The consequences of new technology, digitalisation and the growth of platforms for work and industrial relations
  • Climate breakdown and industrial relations
  • Comparative industrial relations
  • Political economy of work (e.g. austerity, financialisation, fragmentation, flexibilisation and inequality)
  • New forms of collective action in the workplace, and new agents of resistance
  • The rise of populism/nationalism and industrial relations

 

Submission details

Abstracts of papers should be submitted here:

 https://bham.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_0iYSk4W03DvrkDr 

Abstracts should be a maximum of 500 words in length and cover the following headings:

  •         Brief outline
  •         Methodology
  •         Key findings
  •         References

Extended Deadline for submission of abstracts: Monday, 27th January 2020

All abstracts are refereed anonymously by BUIRA Executive Committee members.

Conference fee £200 full and £100 PhD 

References

Dundon T and Rafferty A (2018) The (potential) demise of HRM? Human Resource Management Journal 28(3): 377– 391.

Kelly J (1998) Rethinking Industrial Relations: Mobilisation, Collectivism and Long Waves. London: Routledge

30th June to 2nd July 2020

BUIRA Conference 2019: Uncertain Futures/Fractured Worlds

Call for Papers is Closed.  Decisions will be communicated in early March.

The 2019 BUIRA Conference will take place at Newcastle University Business School, 5 Barrack Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK from 1st-3rd July 2019. 

Members may be interested to note that the 2019 EGOS Colloquium will take place in Edinburgh 4th - 6th July 2019 (90 minutes by train from Newcastle) should they wish to attend both.  Newcastle University Business School is located in the city centre directly opposite St James Park football stadium, and is within walking distance of Newcastle Central Station (10 mins by foot).  The nearest metro station is St James (2 minutes by foot); Haymarket and Monument are also in walking distance (10 mins).  Please note the conference is at Newcastle University Business School and not Newcastle Business School (which is somewhere else).  You can book your menu choices here.  For information on accommodation in Newcastle please see the official accommodation page.  

BUIRA Conference 2019

Uncertain Futures/Fractured Worlds:

The future of employment regulation and rights after Brexit.

 

Newcastle University Business School, 1-3 July 2019

 

Call for papers now open

As the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union occurs only months prior to our conference next year, a major question we need to discuss will be around the uncertain future of employment legislation and regulation post Brexit. 

A substantial amount of UK employment legislation is grounded in EU law.  Does this mean that the withdrawal from the EU will mean UK employment rights currently guaranteed by EU law would no longer be so guaranteed?  Theresa May had confirmed that workers’ existing legal rights will be guaranteed during her period in office – but her position has looked untenable for some time now, even more so recently.  A post-Brexit government could seek to amend or remove any of these.  Of course, what would be amended or removed is a much more open question, since it is affected by the political ideology of a future Government. We are fully aware of previous Conservative administrations’ long-standing opposition to many EU social rights.

 

What then, could be the effect on individuals who rely directly on EU law (i.e. the right to equal pay, agency workers, working time rights)?

 

Empirical (both quantitative and qualitative), analytical, conceptual and methodological papers are all welcome. We would particularly appreciate submissions from early career researchers and doctoral students. Papers concerning topics under the following headings will be particularly welcome:

 

  • Migrant workers from the EU and their position
  • Challenges for Trade Unions
  • Implications for Equality and Diversity
  • The EU and the (future of the) Social Dimension

 

 

Submission details

 

Abstracts of papers should be submitted via https://www.buira.org/admin/submissions/create

Abstracts should be a maximum of 500 words in length and cover the following headings:

  • Brief outline
  • Methodology
  • Key findings
  • References

Deadline for submission of abstracts: Monday, 14th January 2019.

Abstracts are refereed anonymously by BUIRA Executive Committee members.

1st July to 1st July 2019

BUIRA Conference 2018: The return of politics to employment relations (27 to 29 June 2018)

BUIRA Conference 2018: The return of politics to employment relations, Middlesex University.

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN!

Please select your meal choices for the Conference Gala Dinner https://www.eventbrite.com/e/buira-conference-gala-dinner-tickets-46762782742

 

27th June to 29th June 2018