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Industrial Relations Research Unit

Industrial Relations Research Unit

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A leading European centre for research and analysis on the employment relationship

2021/22 Term 1 - IRRU Seminar Speaker Series announced

We are pleased to announce the Industrial Relations Research Unit Seminar Speaker Series for Term 2 2021/22.

We are delighted to host Professor Ryan Lamare, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Professor Heejung Chung, University of Kent and Associate Professor Sonia K. Kang, University of Toronto Mississauga in Term 2.

We continue to hold our seminars online next term making them more accessible to our global community.

Registration is via Eventbrite ( and you will receive the Zoom login details in your confirmation email.


The Industrial Relations Research Unit (IRRU) is one of the major centres for the study of industrial relations in Europe. Established in 1970, our Advisory Committee includes Members of Parliament, senior HR practitioners, and senior officials at the TUC and Acas.

Our objectives
  • Promote understanding of industrial relations, employment and human resource management through interdisciplinary research
  • Use high quality data and analysis to inform and influence policy-making among public administrators, employers and trade unions.
  • Influence academic and policy debate on national and international stage
  • Contribute to research-led industrial relations, employment and human resource management teaching within WBS.

Our impact

Over five decades of empirical research and theoretical reflection on the ever-changing world of work, IRRU has been in the vanguard of emergent debates in the fields of industrial relations, employment, and human resource management. IRRU has also made a central and substantive contribution to WBS’s mission to work in partnership with policy and practice to catalyse the impact of its work. In recent years, IRRU’s research has:

  • driven the policy agenda on the employment of disabled people, most recently via the Disability Employment Charter
  • helped protect public sector union representatives' facility time via the watering down of the facility time clause in the Trade Union Act
  • led public debate on the minimum wage and zero hours contracts
  • helped develop innovative international labour governance responses to the Rana Plaza disaster
  • shaped equality interventions in the arts sector
  • advanced women’s professional careers in Sri Lanka
  • helped facilitate effective engagement between the Social Partners in the metal and health sectors within European Sectoral Social Dialogue.

In addition, WBS’s co-provision of the secretariat to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Disability is provided from within IRRU.

“Every time I reconnect with Warwick it reminds me of my personal good fortune in having received a brilliant education within the department.” Jon Cruddas MP (member of IRRU Advisory Board, and alumnus of the MA in Industrial Relations and Managing Human Resources).

Our three main areas of research

1. Employment relations strategy, including research on:

· Employee voice, skills and high-performance works systems

· Employee board participation effects on pay policies and CEO remuneration

· Indicators of HR practices for the financial market

· Representation strategies of precarious workers

· Wage setting in the Eurozone

· Responses to the national living wage in SMEs

· Professionals’ voice and outsourcing.

2. Globalisation and work, including research on:

· Labour market regulations and management of labour migration

· Employee voice and health and safety in the global garment industry

· Employee responses to relocation of production

· Transfer of employment practices in multinational companies

· EU employment policies on flexibility, security and inclusion

· Coordination between national and European level for health and safety at work

3. Equality and diversity, including research on:

· Collective bargaining and equality

· Employee reps and disabled workers

· Migrant labour and modern slavery.


Prior to Brexit, IRRU, in collaboration with Warwick’s Institute for Employment Research, was the UK national centre for the EU observatory, EurWORK, looking at industrial relations, working conditions and restructuring, supplying features and reports on national development, and thematic comparative analysis. Recent articles contributed by members of the IRRU to EurWork include:

· Living and working in United Kingdom

· Low take-up of Shared Parental Leave scheme

· Taylor Review recommendations and the mixed reactions of the social partners

· Latest working life developments in the UK

· Fall in Employment Tribunal claims linked to introduction of fees

· Mixed reactions to the new apprenticeship levy

· Prisons officers protest over staff shortages and safety concerns

· Government launches consultation on worker representatives on company boards.


Director: Kim Hoque, kim dot hoque at wbs dot ac dot uk

Contact the IRRU team: irruoffice at wbs dot ac dot uk