CLS 2005 Programme

Critical Labour Studies: Second Workshop

University of Leeds, 2-3 December 2005

The Centenary Gallery, Parkinson Building
The University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT

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.

Accommodation in Leeds and Bradford:

Information on Leeds:

Please contact: Ian Greenwood to reserve a place:
I. Greenwood, Leeds University Business School, Leeds LS2 9JT


Delegate Rate – £70.00
PhD Rate – £40.00

Sponsored by Capital and Class and Buira Marxist Study Group


Friday 2nd December

1pm-2pm – Registration and Tea/Coffee

2.00-3.15 – Community Activism and Union Organisation (Chair: Ian Greenwood)

Jo Mcbride (Bradford)
Keith Hazelwood (GMB National secretary)
Trade union convenor A&P Tyne

3.15-3.45 – Afternoon Tea/Coffee

3.45-5.00 – The influence of ‘race’, identity and community on the organisation of migrant workers (Chair: Valeria Pulignano)

Jane Holgate (Working Lives Institute)
Teresa MacKay (TGWU)
Ian Fitzgerald (Northumbria)

5.00-5.30 Social Partnership in the Republic of Ireland and the political challenges of globalisation (Chair: Paul Stewart)

Tommy McKearney (organiser for the Independent Workers’ union and  journalist writing for Daily Ireland)

7.30pm Conference Dinner (TBA) Saturday 3rd December

9.30-10.00 – Tea

Saturday 3rd December

10.00-11.30  – Unions, restructuring and supranational forms of worker representation (Chair: John Stirling)

Valeria Pulignano (KU Leuven – Belgium)
Torsten Muller (Dublin Foundation)

11.30-12.00 Tea/coffee

12.00-1.00pm – Trade unions and Research Networks (‘research as an engagement’) (Chair: Jo McBride)

Paul Nowack (TUC)
Keith Forrester (Leeds)

1.00- 2.00 Lunch

2.00-3.00 The high performance workplace and the politics of production (Chair: Phil Taylor)

Paul Stewart (UWE)
Ken Murphy (Vauxhall-Ellesmere Port)
Richard Cooney (Monash University)

3.00-3.15 Tea/Cofee

3.15 – 4.45 New Labour and the Unions: Some Recurring and Emerging Tensions and Dilemmas (Chair: Mark Stuart)

Ralph Darlington (Salford)
Steve Davidson (Chair: Amicus Executive)

4.45 – Close Open session on CLS and future proposals (Chaired by Paul Stewart and Mark Stuart)