Labour law reform debates have been caught between the rock of neoliberal deregulation and the hard place of nostalgia for an often idealised past. With its ground breaking publication ‘A Manifesto for Labour Law’, the Institute for Employment Rights, has sought to open a new discourse on the debate on the future of the world of work and on labour regulation, a discourse that is quickly gaining political traction in the UK and has important echoes in other European jurisdictions.
John Hendy QC, Honorary Professor at UCL Laws, will introduce the key regulatory threads of the Manifesto, and in particular the objectives of giving ‘voice’ to workers, shifting the emphasis of workplace regulation from statute to collective agreements between workers and employers, renewed administrative support and public intervention in labour market regulation (with the establishment of a Ministry of Labour), and the introduction of fundamental and enforceable protection for all workers.
The Trade Union Bill 2015
Tuesday 27 October 2015, 18:15 - 19:30
UCL Anatomy Gavin de Beer Lecture Theatre, Medical Sciences and Anatomy, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT
Speaker Professor John Hendy QC is a leading expert on Freedom of Association and the Right to Strike, and his work on the practical and legal consequence of the Bill is currently shaping much of the policy debate and critical thinking around the proposed reforms.
‘A critical assessment of its impact on the fundamental right to strike’
Introduced by the new Conservative Government with the declared objective of ‘tackl[ing] the disproportionate impact of strikes in essential public services by introducing a tougher threshold’ in strike ballots, (Conservative Party Manifesto 2015) the Trade Union Bill 2015 has been viewed by both opposition and the union movement as ‘the most significant, sustained and partisan attack on six million trade union members and their workplace organisations that we have seen in this country in the last 30 years’.
If adopted, some of the provisions contained in the Bill would render lawful industrial action virtually impossible by subjecting it to a 50% turnout requirement and, for some essential public services, to a 40% approval rate by all those eligible to vote.
Thursday 23 April 2015
“Changing Times, Changing Relationships at Work...Changing Law?”
• The Hon. Mr Justice Langstaff, the President of the Employment Appeal Tribunal
• The Hon. Justice Michael John Walton, President of the Industrial Relations Court of New South Wales, Australia
Chair: Professor Keith Ewing (Prof. of Public Law, KCL)
Introduction: Prof. Mark Freedland (Oxford and UCL)
We are privileged to host two distinguished members of the Australian and UK judiciary, offering us a unique perspective on the charged question as to whether labour law has kept pace with the constantly changing nature of work relations so as properly to regulate them.
Tuesday 10 March 2015 ‘Trade Unions and Economic Inequality’
Dr. Hayes and Prof. Novitz will illustrate the extremely significant, and often neglected, contribution that trade unions make to the pursuit of more equal societies. Building on their recent IER publication Trade Unions and Economic Inequality (2014, The Institute of Employment Rights) the two speakers will detail some of the economic and social achievements of Trade Unions, and reflect on the key regulatory reforms necessary to renew their ability to address inequalities.
This panel discussion is part of a series on ‘Tackling Inequalities through Labour and Social Regulation’ co-organised by the UCL Labour Rights Institute and the Institute of Employment Rights, generously supported by the UCL European Institute.
Tuesday 20 January 2015
‘Tackling Inequalities and Basic Income Theory’
Key Speaker: Prof. Guy Standing (SOAS)
About this event:
Ideas long rejected may turn out to be essential or even obvious in another age. Does this apply to the idea of a basic income, that is, a universal unconditional regular payment to every individual?
This talk argued that in the globalisation era, the 20th century income distribution system has broken down irretrievably, resulting in steadily rising inequalities, chronic economic insecurity and a globalised class structure in which the precariat is the growing mass class.
In that context, a basic income is not only desirable but essential. It is also the means of avoiding a situation in which development in emerging market economies will continue to be marked by growing inequalities.
The talk drew on two recent books, A Precariat Charter: From Denizens to Citizens and Basic Income: A Transformative Policy for India, both published by Bloomsbury.
This event is part of a series on ‘Tackling Inequalities through Labour and Social Regulation’ organised by the UCL Labour Rights Institute and generously supported by the UCL European Institute.
Tuesday 28 October 2014
‘Equality: The New Legal Framework Revisited’
Prof. Sir Bob Hepple, Honorary President, Equal Rights Trust.
Dr. Nicola Countouris
Professor Mark Freedland
Prof. Sandra Fredman
Dr Virginia Mantouvalou
Prof. Gillian Morris
About this event:
This panel discussion was opened by Professor Bob Hepple’s presentation of his latest work Equality – The Legal Framework (2nd ed., Hart, 2014) and his analysis of the main developments in the UK Equality Law framework since the adoption of the Equality Act 2010.
His analysis was followed by a discussion focusing predominantly on the many outstanding issues that, partly due to the partial and incomplete implementation of the EqA 2010, the next post-election Government may have to address in order to combat inequalities in the UK labour market and in society at large.
This panel discussion was part of a series on ‘Tackling Inequalities through Labour and Social Regulation’ organised by the UCL Labour Rights Institute and generously supported by the UCL European Institute.
The event was been co-organised by UCL Faculty of Laws and the Equal Rights Trust.
Tuesday 25 March 2014 Privacy and Employment: Time for Reform?
Gillian Morris (Matrix Chambers/UCL)
Dr Nicola Countouris (UCL)
About this lecture:
In an age of electronic communications and social media there are now a multitude of ways in which employers may seek information about workers and prospective workers. English law in this area is complex and fragmented and it may be difficult in practice for workers to enforce their rights. One area of particular concern is the relevance of 'consent' to whether the provision of personal information is lawful and what 'consent' means in reality in the employment sphere. In this seminar Professor Gillian Morris asked whether it is now time for the law to adopt a more integrated approach to privacy which takes adequate account of the specific issues that may arise in relation to employment.
Monday 24 March 2014 HIV/AIDS at Work: I.B. v Greece
• Colm O'Cinneide (Reader in Laws, UCL, and Member of the European Committee of Social Rights)
• Professor Matthew Weait (Professor of Law & Policy, Birckbeck School of Law)
• Professor Robert Wintemute (Professor of Human Rights Law, The Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London)
Chair: Dr Virginia Mantouvalou (Reader in Human Rights and Labour Law, UCL)
About this lecture:
In the first ever case relating to HIV/AIDS discrimination in the workplace, I.B. v. Greece, the European Court of Human Rights held that the dismissal of an HIV-positive worker in response to workforce pressure violated human rights. The applicant was represented by the Co-Directors of the UCL Institute for Human Rights, Dr George Letsas and Dr Virginia Mantouvalou.
The case concerned an employee, I.B., who was dismissed from his job in the private sector, when colleagues found out that he had HIV. They refused to work with him, demanding his dismissal. The employee challenged the dismissal as unlawful. However, the Greek Court of Cassation upheld the dismissal on the ground that it was not motivated by hostility towards his HIV status on the part of the employer, but by the need to ensure the peaceful running of the business. The European Court of Human Rights ruled that this the applicant's dismissal violates the European Convention on Human Rights.
This seminar placed the case in its broader context of HIV discrimination and stigma in the workplace, the law on equality and discrimination, as well as the protection of labour rights in the European Convention on Human Rights.
Tuesday 4 February 2014 Next Generation Trade Unionism – What More Can Unions do to Recruit and Support Britain’s Young Workers?
About this lecture:
With less than 1 in 12 young workers holding a union card, what more can Britain’s unions do to reach out to the next generation of potential union members and activists?
Paul Nowak, TUC assistant general secretary, reviewed union efforts to organise and recruit young workers and to build effective trade unions in the private service sector. The session also explored what practical steps unions can take to make trade unionism relevant to Britain’s young workers.
Tuesday 14 May 2013
Symposium on Cure the Disease and Kill the Patient – Labour Rights in Greece after 3 Years of Austerity
•Dr Aristea Koukiadaki (Lecturer in Employment Studies, University of Manchester);
•Dr Lefteris Kretsos (Senior Lecturer in Employment Relations, University of Greenwich);
•Dr Giuseppe Casale (Director, ILO Department of Labour Administration);
•Colm O’Cinneide (Reader in Laws, UCL; Vice-President of the European Committee of Social Rights)
About this symposium:
This small symposium focused on the state of labour law in Greece after 3-years of austerity and deregulatory reforms partly introduced to satisfy the requirements imposed by the EU Commission-ECB-IMF Memoranda of Understanding accompanying the country’s two main bailout packages of May 2010 and February 2012.
In recent years, even months, the issue of rapidly declining labour rights standards in Greece has become the subject of intense academic debate and (more recently) human rights litigation, with a number of regional and international organisations assessing recent reforms against Greece’s international human/labour rights obligations. In 2011 a Report of the ILO High Level Mission to Greece, explicitly noted that ‘overall, the changes being introduced to the industrial relations system in the current circumstances are likely to have a spillover effect on collective bargaining as a whole, to the detriment of social peace and society at large’ and reminded Greece of its obligations ‘under ratified Conventions to promote the practice of collective bargaining in general’. These concerns are, if anything, more forcefully expressed in last year’s 356th Report of the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association (cf. page 249-274). The European Committee of Social Rights, in two recent decisions of 2012, was even more explicit in declaring the Greek state in breach of Articles 1, 4, 7, and 10 of the European Social Charter.
This event proposed to debate in greater detail the labour law, industrial relations and human rights implications of these reforms from a national, European, and ILO perspective.
Friday 30 November 2012
Symposium on The Legal Construction of Personal Work Relations
Key speakers include Prof. Hugh Collins (LSE), Prof. Guy Davidov (Jerusalem), Prof. Simon Deakin (Cambridge), Prof. Sandra Fredman (Oxofrd), Prof. Brian Langille (Toronto), Prof. Judy Fudge (University of Victoria, Canada) and Prof. Guy Mundlak (Tel Aviv)
Chair: Dr Einat Albin (Jerusalem) and Dr Virginia Mantouvalou
About this talk:
The most important question for social policy today is: Can the United States participate in global trade while maintaining a robust middle class? Or does expanded global trade necessarily mean doom for the U.S. middle class and others in advanced industrial nations? This question might have sounded provocative, incendiary, or just plain silly a decade ago, but it can no longer be ignored. Several different approaches have been advocated to preserve the living standards of the middle class in advanced countries in the face of expanded global trade. This talk examines three clusters of policies that are the most promising, policies to (1) encourage a race to the top that can counterbalance a race to the bottom; (2) promote the creation of local and regional agglomeration economies that will act as counterweights to a race to the bottom, and (3) foster firm-level innovation and develop the skills and human capital of the local population. It concludes that we adopt policies that braid these three together in order to preserve the U.S. middle class.
About the speaker: Professor Katherine Stone is the Arjay and Frances Fearing Miller Professor of Law at UCLA. She is also Visiting Professor at UCL in November 2012 and is on the advisory board of the UCL Labour Rights Institute. Professor Stone is a leading expert in labor and employment law in the United States. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship Award in 2008 and a Russell Sage Fellowship for 2008-2009 for her work on the changing nature of employment and the regulatory implications. Professor Stone's recent book, From Widgets to Digits: Employment Regulation for the Changing Workplace (Cambridge University Press in 2004) won the 2005 Michael Harrington Award from the American Political Science Association for the "outstanding book that best links scholarship to struggles for justice in the real world." The book was also the Finalist (Second Place) for the C. Wright Mills Award from the Society for the Study of Social Problems. Her forthcoming book, Globalization and Flexibilization: The Remaking of the Employment Relationship in the 21st Century, will examine the changing employment landscape in Japan, Australia, and Europe.
About this lecture:
In this public lecture our two outstanding speakers presented their views on the constantly rising number of workers whose employment is seen as ‘precarious’. In doing so they will provide their understanding of the concept of ‘precarious work’, and make suggestions on what needs to be done (and by whom) in order to address the challenges arising from the precarization of work.
Friday 25 May 2012, 9 - 5.30pm
Institute for Human Rights
Workshop on Right to Work
Professor Guy Mundlak (Tel Aviv University), Professor Hugh Collins (LSE), Professor Sophie Robin Olivier (Paris, Nanterre), Dr Alan Bogg (Oxford), Professor Diamond Ashiagbor (SOAS), Dr Nicola Countouris (UCL), Dr Amir Paz-Fuchs (Ono Academic College), Professor Sir Bob Hepple (Cambridge), Professor John Tasioulas (UCL), Professor David Wiggins (Oxford), Dr Virginia Mantouvalou (UCL).
About the Event:
The value of work cannot be underestimated in today’s world. Work is instrumentally valuable because productive labour generates goods needed for survival, like food and housing; goods needed for self-development, like education and culture; and other material goods that people wish to have in order to live a fulfilling life. In a market economy, productive labour benefits not only those who produce goods by bringing them income, but also those who purchase and consume those goods. But work is not only valuable for the income and goods it generates. It is crucial for a person’s feeling of membership in society. In addition, work also has an intrinsic value. A job generally inspires a sense of achievement, self-esteem, as well as the esteem of the others. Work is a crucial good, which is today in short supply. Do we have a human right to this good? What is the content of this right? Does it impose a duty on governments to promote full employment? Does it impose an obligation to promote healthy and safe conditions at work? Who are the right holders? Do migrants have a right to work, for example? How about illegal immigrants? This international workshop will address questions such as these.
Friday 18 May – Sat 19 May 2012
An International Conference on Resocializing Europe and the Mutualization of Risks to Workers.
Prof. Diamond Ashiagbor (SOAS); Prof. Catherine Barnard (Cambridge); Dr Alan Bogg (Oxford); Prof. William Brown (Cambridge); Dr Giuseppe Casale (ILO); Professor Chelo Chacartegui (PFU Baarcelona); Prof. Hugh Collins (LSE); Prof. Colin Crouch (Warwick); Judith Kirton-Darling (ETUC); Prof. Anne Davies (Oxford); Prof. Simon Deakin and Dr Aristea Koukiadaki (Cambridge and Manchester); Dr Ruth Dukes (Glasgow); Prof. Keith Ewing (KCL); Prof. Sandra Fredman (Oxford); Prof. Mark Freedland (Oxford); Mr Thomas Haendel MEP (GUE/NGL); Prof. Frank Hendrickx (Leuven); Prof. Sir Bob Hepple QC (Cambrdige); Dr Catherine Jacqueson (Copenhagen); Prof. Claire Kilpatrick (EUI); Judith Kirton-Darling (ETUC); Prof. Julia Lopez (PFU Barcelona); Dr. Virginia Mantouvalou (UCL); Prof. Aileen McColgan (KCL); Prof. Sonia McKay (Londonmet); Prof. G. Morris (Matrix Chambers); Dr Wanjiru Njoya (LSE); Ms Lydia Hayes and Prof. Tonia Novitz (Bristol); Dr Colm O’Cinneide (UCL); Ms Hannah Reed (TUC); Professor Mia Rönnmar (Lund); Dr Astrid Sanders (Birmingham); Prof. Monika Schlachter (Trier); Prof. Silvana Sciarra (Firenze); Dr Kendra Strauss (Cambridge); Prof. Alain Supiot (Nantes); Prof. Aurora Vimercati (Bari); Prof. Manfred Weiss (Frankfurt); Dr Chris Wright (Melbourne).
About the Event:
Terms such as ‘Social Europe’, the ‘European Social Dimension’, ‘European Social Model’, and, more recently, ‘European Social Pact’, have long resided in the political and regulatory lexicon of European integration. But arguably, after reaching a climax in 2000 with the inclusion of a ‘Solidarity’ chapter in the Charter of Fundamental Rights, the social profile of the EU has entered a deep period of crisis, one may say a phase of ‘social eurosklerosis’.
The status quo is arguably one in which workers once again appear to shoulder most of the risks attendant upon the making and execution of arrangements for the doing of work, and associated with their particular personal work situation in the labour market at large. We define this status quo as one in which a process of de-mutualization of work related risks is seriously undermining the hard-fought and hard-earned social acquis that national social law, and Social Europe itself, once aspired to provide. And we advocate a reversal of the this trend in favour of a process of fair-mutualization of these risks, so as to disperse them away from workers, and share them more equitably between employers, the state, but also consumers, and society at large.
The Labour Rights Institute of UCL (LRI), with the financial support provided by the British Academy Conference Grant (Grant No. CS110461) and by a number of other stakeholders (please see acknowldgements), seeks to bring together an interdisciplinary group of experts from the UK and the rest of Europe to discuss whether this current phase of ‘social eurosklerosis’ is likely to become a permanent feature of the EU, or whether new regulatory trajectories could and ought to be pursued.
Acknowledgments: This event is organised with the support of the British Academy, UCL European Institute, UCL Centre for Law and Governance in the EU
Tuesday 31 January 2012
A Bill of Rights or a Bill of Wrongs? Speaker: Peter Reading (Director of Legal Policy at The Equality and Human Rights Commission)
Chair: Colm O'Cinneide, UCL
Accredited with 1 CPD hour by the SRA and BSB
About this event:
In March 2011 the coalition government established an independent Commission on a Bill of Rights. It has terms of reference to investigate the creation of a UK Bill of Rights that replaces the Human Rights Act (HRA) but '...incorporates and builds on all our obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights, ensures that these rights continue to be enshrined in UK law.'
This lecture will examine the political and legal ramifications of the debate on replacing the HRA with a Bill of Rights. Do we already have a Bill of Rights in the form of the HRA? Does the HRA work effectively and should it be retained? What are the national implications for the devolution settlements in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland of a possible repeal of the HRA? And finally what are the potential international ramifications of repealing the HRA on the protection of human rights globally.
Tuesday 29 November 2011
Jivraj v Haswani
and the Scope of Discrimination Law before the Supreme Court Speaker: Prof. Christopher McCrudden (Queen's University Belfast / Blackstone Chambers)
Chair: Dr Nicola Countouris (UCL)
Accredited with 1 CPD hour by the SRA and BSB
About this lecture:
In Jivraj v Haswani  the Supreme Court redefined the personal and material scope of application of UK anti-discrimination law by reference to the EU Equality framework, and in particular Directive 2000/78. We are priviledge to host a public lecture by Professor Christopher McCrudden who, in addition to being one of the country's authorities in the area of equality and labour law, was directly involved as a barrister in the case discussed.
Thursday 16 June 2011 Migration, Law and Image
Speaker: WJT Mitchell
Respondents: Prof. Parvati Nair (QMUL) and Dr Ingrid Boccardi (UCL Laws)
Chair: Dr Federica Mazzara (UCL Italian)
About this debate:
This lecture aimed at the convergence of three disciplines: 1) the law, with its entire edifice of judicial practice and political philosophy; 2) migration, as the movement and settlement of living things, especially (but not exclusively) human beings, across the boundaries between distinct habitats; 3) iconology, the theory of images across the media, including verbal and visual images, metaphors and figures of speech as well as visual representations. Examining a range of examples from science fiction narratives of alien species, to stories of conquest, colonization, and ethnic cleansing, to the development of contemporary practices of detention and border policing, the lecture will argue that immigration in our time has ceased to be a merely transitional phase in human life, and threatens to become a permanent condition for growing numbers of people. This poses a radical challenge to liberal notions of universal human equality, which depend, paradoxically, on philosophies of exclusion and the policing of borders to protect actually existing liberal polities. The “veil of ignorance” about particular human identities (race, class, gender, and ethnicity) that philosopher John Rawls regarded as foundational to liberal notions of justice and equality comes under new kinds of stress in a time when the borders between peoples have become zones of increasing violence and despair.
Dr Nicola Contouris chaired a panel discussing the two legislative proposals put forward last July by the European Commission, which addressed the temporary immigration of ‘third country nationals' into the EU for purposes of employment.
This panel discussion presented and discussed the proposed directives in detail, placing them within their policy context, and weighed up arguments both in favour and against EU legislative involvement in this area.
Claude Moraes, Labour MEP
Professor Michelle Everson, School of Law, Birkbeck College
Werner Buelen, Political Secretary Construction, European Federation of Building and Woodworkers
Dr Nicola Contouris, Faculty of Laws, UCL (CHAIR)
The panel was co-organised by the UCL European Institute and the UCL Labour Rights Institute. It was their contribution to UCL Migration Week - a series of lectures, panel discussions, conferences and exhibitions, which will explore migration from a number of academic perspectives. The week was co-organised by the UCL Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration and the UCL Grand Challenges programme.
Tuesday 22 February 2011
The Equality Act 2010: An Appraisal Speaker: Professor Sir Bob Hepple QC
Chair: Dr Nicola Countouris (UCL)
Accredited with 1 CPD hour
Wednesday 9 February 2011
Labour Administration, Labour Inspection and the ILO: Current Regulatory Perspectives Speaker: Dr Guiseppe Casale, International Labour Organization (ILO) PowerPoint presentation here
Tuesday 23 November 2010
‘Precarious Working Lives - Labour Rights in Ken Loach's filmography: When Fiction meets Reality'
An evening spent in the company of Ken Loach, discussing the Director's most poignant and insightful recent masterpieces on the intrinsic vulnerability of working lives in this brave new world
About the event: Ken Loach, a panel of labour law academics and practitioners, and an enthusiastic audience of UCL/London University students and members of the public, analysed and debated selected scenes from ‘The Navigators' (2001), ‘Bread and Roses' (2000), and ‘It's a Free World' (2007), elaborating on the thin red line that separates fiction from reality, dignity from exploitation, stability from precariousness, hope from despair.
With the active participation and contribution of Dame Hazel Genn (Dean at UCL Laws), Dr Nicola Countouris (UCL Laws – LRI), Dr Ingrid Boccardi (UCL Laws - LRI), Professor Mark Freedland (Oxford – chairing the event), Professor Diamond Ashiagbor (SOAS), Professor Sonia McKay (London Metropolitan), Mrs Jeannette Sainsbury (Thompsons Solicitors), and the UCL employment law students of 2010-2011.
Comments: ‘How useful for us, law students, to approach employment law and labour rights, not through books, as we are usually required to do, but through the work of a well-known filmmaker dealing with controversial political and social issues' - Victoria
‘I found it absolutely fascinating, and so inspiring to hear the views and efforts of so many working towards fighting for changes in employment protection. I also thoroughly enjoyed the movies and found it such a useful way to get to grips with some of the problems currently at the centre of employment law, and not just in the UK' – Stephanie
‘I found the discussions truly inspirational and refreshing. I was not aware of such influential films and you have introduced many of us to a talented and thoughtful director. The use of DVD's in seminars was an excellent way to portray the real life nature of what we study' - Masuma
‘It was very encouraging. I do hope the passion that you all express so clearly translates into coherent action' - Ken Loach