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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

New IRRU Co-Directors announced

NEWS: In September 2022 Dr Manuela Galetto and Dr Deborah Dean became IRRU's first Co-Directors and the first women to lead the Industrial Relations Research Unit.

We thank our predecessor Professor Kim Hoque for his remarkable service as Director. As long-term members of IRRU and its Management Committee, we are delighted to take on this shared role in IRRU's 52nd year.


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 DisabilityLink opens in a new window 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 KingdomLink opens in a new window

· Low take-up of Shared Parental Leave schemeLink opens in a new window

· Taylor Review recommendations and the mixed reactions of the social partnersLink opens in a new window

· Latest working life developments in the UKLink opens in a new window

· Fall in Employment Tribunal claims linked to introduction of feesLink opens in a new window

· Mixed reactions to the new apprenticeship levyLink opens in a new window

· Prisons officers protest over staff shortages and safety concernsLink opens in a new window

· Government launches consultation on worker representatives on company boardsLink opens in a new window.


Co-Directors: Deborah DeanLink opens in a new window deborah dot dean at wbs dot ac dot uk, Manuela GalettoLink opens in a new window manuela dot galetto at wbs dot ac dot uk

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