CLS 2004 Programme

CLS 2004 Programme

First meeting – 12th and 13th November
Location: The University of Leeds, Continuing & Adult Education

It is clear to researchers and activists, both in the trade unions and universities, that a powerful neo-liberal and global capitalism is increasingly shaping the worlds of work and employment.  The imposition of this neo-liberal orthodoxy, often referred to as the Washington consensus, has many profound implications.  As the global exploitation of workers has intensified, states seek both to de-legitimise their opposition and to marginalise their organisations.  However, just as capitalism has embraced neo-liberal strategies there has emerged a new politics of resistance that is varied and diverse, embracing trade union and socialist organisations, green and ecological protest movements, peace activists, feminists, human rights campaigners and NGOs.   It is against this background that this colloquium aims to bring together researchers and activists to discuss key features of work and employment from a radical and labour focused perspective.  We recognise that, while academic researchers on the left participate in the usual round of mainstream academic conferences, the scope for concerted and focused radical debate around these themes, is actually quite limited.  The aim, therefore, will be to consider the establishment of an open working group and discussion forum that raises some of the challenges to researchers and trade unionists within the current environment of work and employment.  It has become increasingly clear to many researchers and activists, both in trade unions and universities, that there is a significant demand for our knowledge and research capability.

However, by ‘labour’, we anticipate, in the traditions of radical researchers over the ages, a broad understanding of myriad social, economic and political agendas.  Themes will include historical and biographical work on labour, gender and ethnicity, ranging from research into collectivist-individualist memory of immigrants to Britain in the post war period to contemporary tensions over conceptions of union-management partnership agendas in the employment relationship.  The list of themes and questions that concern us will of course develop over time, and the intention will be to reflect this annually in the colloquium.  Moreover, this discussion will be reflected both in an Annual Papers and, eventually, in an electronic journal/website.  An ancillary objective will be to engage in genuinely critical debate, rescuing this term from its cooption by mainstream discourses.  Each stream will be open, with speakers, discussants and broad discussion based on a theme/issue.  The aim is to invite a structured and open discussion, which is not based solely on specific papers or interventions. It is envisaged that the colloquium will be held at different venue each year.  Colleagues at Bradford, Bristol, Leeds, Northumbria, Stirling and Warwick have expressed initial commitment.

Initial Organizers: Jo McBride & Miguel Martinez Lucio (Bradford University), Valeria Pulignano (Warwick University), John Stirling (Northumbria University), Ian Greenwood and Mark Stuart (Leeds University), Steve Jefferys (London Metropolitan University) Paul Stewart (University of the West of England), Phil Taylor (Stirling University)

Cost: £50.00 – includes attendance at conference, coffee and tea, and lunch for Saturday (accommodation is not included)

Accommodation in Leeds and Bradford:

Information on Leeds:

Conference Location: School of Continuing Education, Continuing Education Building, Springfield Mount, Leeds LS2 9JT

More details will be available soon and places will be limited due to space. Please contact Ian Greenwood be email or post to reserve a place:
I. Greenwood, Leeds University Business School, Leeds LS2 9JT

Sponsored by Capital and Class


The sessions aim to:

  • Illustrate the dynamics and challenges of working on such issues in a more engaged context that involves both academics and trade unionists.
  • Present an opportunity to discuss some of the dynamics and developments in terms of pursuing independent and critical research through a discussion of examples of current high profile projects.
  • To discuss the policy and strategy aspects of the projects and how they have developed in relation to union revitalisation and the establishment of an independent, critical and creative identity.
  • Provide time and space for a discussion about how conferences, networks and forms of dissemination could emerge around a Critical Labour Studies approach that is unique, critically informed, committed to change, relevant and socially engaged.



4.30-6.00 – Registration and Coffee

6.00 1) Opening Session: Paul Stewart and Ian Greenwood

6.30-8.00 2) Globalisation, Capital Mobility and Labour

– The case of off-shoring and the politics of jobs – Colleagues from Stirling University and Strathclyde University

Interventions from AMICUS-Finance

Chair: Ian Greenwood

8.00 -11.00 buffet meal Amigos Restaurant – University of Leeds main campus


9.00 3) Globalisation, Production Politics and Labour Networks – Colleagues from Warwick, the University of the West of England and the T&GWU

Chair: Phil Taylor

10.00 4) ‘Institutions or Actions: Solidarity or Privilege – The European dimension’ – Colleagues from the University of Northumbria

Chair: Valeria Pulignano

11.00-11.15 Coffees and Tea

11.15 5) ‘International labour co-ordination and strategy from below’ – Policy and Research Implications – An open discussion

Chair: John Stirling

12.00-1.00 Lunch

1.00 6) Identity, Ethnicity and Labour – Colleagues from the London Metropolitan University and UNISON

Chair: Paul Stewart

2.00 7) Learning to Labour and the New Politics of Training – Colleagues from the University of Leeds, GMB and AMICUS

Chair: Jo McBride

3.00-3.30 Coffees and Tea

3.30-5.00 Critical Labour Studies: The Next Steps: CLS as a forum; CLS as a network; CLS as a conference?

Chairs: Mark Stuart and Paul Stewart