EU pick WBS for UK industrial relations centre

21 May 2014

Professor Guglielmo Meardi

The University of Warwick has been chosen by the European Union to be the UK centre of a Europe-wide network researching working conditions and industrial relations.

The European Observatory of Industrial Relations and Working Conditions is spread across 28 countries and collects up-to-date data and information for EU institutions, policymakers and Governments.

Warwick Business School’s Industrial Relations Research Unit (IRRU) and the University of Warwick’s Institute for Employment Research will carry out the research for the UK until 2018.

They were awarded a four-year contract worth €520,000 (£425,080) from the EU devoted agency, the European Foundation for the Improvement of living and Working Conditions, to collect, analyse and constantly update the information on employment issues in Britain.

Professor Guglielmo Meardi, Director of IRRU, said: “This is great news for Warwick Business School and the University of Warwick and a great opportunity to not only examine closely the issues around industrial relations in the UK, but across Europe as we link up with our partners to produce a detailed picture of how the continent recovers from the global financial crisis.

“We have been the UK national centre since the European Industrial Relations Observatory network was first launched in 1996.

“The observatory databases, which are being merged under the single label of ‘EurWork’, constitute the most authoritative and exhaustive source of comparative information on industrial relations and working conditions across the EU and has been particularly influential in framing debates on employment policies and restructuring. This has become particularly important and sensitive after the economic crisis of 2008 intensified existing uncertainties in the labour market and forced deep revisions in European employment policies.

“With youth unemployment rising in many EU countries, the increasing concern over zero-hours contracts and immigration there are some big issues that need to be tackled by policymakers and we will be able to provide them with proper evidence to base their decisions on.”

Established in 1970, IRRU has become one of the major centres for industrial relations research in Europe helping Governments and policy-makers analyse the employment situation.

Professor Meardi added: “The award of this contract confirms the enduring national and European prominence and reputation of WBS in the study and research of employment relations, in particular through the activities of IRRU and strong links to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), which all helps inform our specialist teaching through the MSc Human Resources Management & Employment Relations.

Professor Chris Warhurst, Director of IER, said: “The European elections are looming and people across the UK want to be assured that the EU is aware of and understands what’s happening to jobs here in the UK so decisions made in Brussels are sensitive to UK needs. The observatory is an essential part of that process. It enables information to flow into Brussels and agencies within the EU.

“IRRU has worked hard within the observatory network over recent years and are held in high regard. It is a reflection of that esteem that the new joint delivery by IRRU and IER has been selected to keep providing that information until 2018.”

Professor Guglielmo Meardi teaches Comparative Employment Relations on the MSc Human Resources Management & Employment Relations and Business and Society in Contemporary Europe plus Business and Society in Contemporary Germany on Warwick Business School's Undergraduate programme.








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