MIRS - Programme of Meetings

MIRS and Manchester University Press book launch event:Lessons of leadership from Mick Lynch, RMT union general secretary and 'working-class hero' by Professor Gregor Gall, University of Leeds and University of Glasgow08 February 2024, 5-6.30pm; Room 3.008 Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester

Tea and coffee available from 4.30pm.

This will be held as a hybrid in-person/ online event – online access is available via Zoom registration. 'In person' booking details will be released in the new year.


Mick Lynch emerged almost from nowhere in the early summer of 2022 to become a 'working-class hero', turning sectional demands into generalised demands and articulating the anger of millions against the Tories and the growing levels of economic and social inequality in Britain.

However, that 'soft' power has not easily translated into 'hard' power and neither has the 'power to' (disrupt) turned into 'power over' (the bargaining opponent). This talk based on Gregor Gall’s newly published book - Mick Lynch: The making of a working-class hero (manchesteruniversitypress.co.uk/9781526173096/ [manchesteruniversitypress.co.uk]) - examines his role in accounting for these outcomes as the leader of the RMT union. It draws out conclusions about understanding the nature of power in the current political period, strategic planning (and the lack thereof) and participative leadership.


Gregor Gall is visiting professor of industrial relations at the University of Leeds and an affiliate research associate at the University of Glasgow. He was previously professor of industrial relations at the universities of Stirling, Hertfordshire and Bradford. He is author and editor of over twenty books and 130 peer reviewed journal articles on unions and industrial relations.

Platform labour unrest in a global perspective: How, where and why do platform workers protest?15 February 2024

Professors Charles Umney and Vera Trappman, University of Leeds

Labour unrest by platform workers is a growing global phenomenon, but several questions require deeper understanding. What motivates platform labour unrest? Which actors and strategies are involved? How does this vary across regions? Systematic answers are hindered by the lack of large datasets. This talk is based on analysis of a global dataset comprising 1271 instances of platform labour unrest. It reveals two main dimensions of platform labour struggle: those defending or extending protective regulatory institutions (regulatory protests); and those seeking a larger share of value created (distributive protests). The former more often involve mainstream unions and methods like legal challenges. The latter more often involve grassroots organisation, and the collective withdrawal of labour and demonstrations. These patterns reveal variation within the growing wave of platform labour unrest that have not yet been systematically examined.

Charles Umney is Professor of International Work and Employment and Vera Trappmann is Professor of Comparative Employment Relations, both at Leeds University Business School, University of Leeds.

This will be held as a hybrid in-person/ online event – online access is available via this Zoom registration link; please let us know via the same link whether you will be attending in person.

6-7.30pm, Thursday 15 February, Lecture theatre 6 (G35) at Manchester Metropolitan University Business School - map

Learning your Lines: Promotion Scripts and the Career Progression of Minoritized EmployeesMarch 21, 2024

Madeleine Wyatt, Reader in Diversity and Inclusion, King's College London

How employees make it to the top is a central question in organizational research and practice. It's often assumed that it's up to individuals to strategize how to navigate promotions but to do this they need to know the 'script', which includes what to do and how to do it. In this talk I'll be presenting a qualitative study that investigated how promotion scripts to Partner are shared in a global professional services firm. I explore how women and ethnic minorities decode 'what it takes' to get to Partner and how promotion gatekeepers transmit these scripts. I also discuss the implications for organisations looking to foster diversity in their talent pipelines.

Madeleine Wyatt is a Reader in Diversity and Inclusion at King's Business School and a Leverhulme Research Fellow. Her research examines equality, diversity and inclusion at work, organisational politics, and political leadership. By working with practitioners, politicians and policy makers her work provides tools for organisations and political parties to advance diversity and inclusion. She has published her work in internationally recognised peer-reviewed outlets, such as The Leadership Quarterly, Human Relations and Harvard Business Review.

This is a joint meeting with the CIPD and will be introduced by colleagues from the CIPD Manchester Branch.

6-7.30pm, Thursday 21 March. This meeting will be online and access is available via the Zoom registration link.

Worker mistreatment, advice and advocacy - the case of a 'not-so-new' industrial relations actorMay 9 2024 (hybrid), 6-7.30pm (MMU)

Annual Shirley Lerner Lecture

Phil Taylor, Professor Emeritus of Employment Relations, University of Strathclyde

This talk will present a detailed analysis of the origins, context, framing, purposes, activities and outcomes of the Inverclyde Advice and Employment Rights Centre (IAERC), drawing on a wider ESRC-supported research project on the nature of contemporary worker voice. While, conceptually, it may be considered a post-Dunlopian 'new actor', it is an established (since 1996), continuous, voluntary organisation, deeply embedded in a defined local authority and intimately engaging with thousands of grievance-bearing unrepresented workers in a de-industrialised labour market. The IAERC commits to ensuring access and availability for clients, their empowerment, continuity of advice, depth of expertise and, crucially, detailed knowledge of employment law, ACAS and ET procedures and appropriate referral to skilled representatives and experts. The paper reports on the diverse range of client problems and grievances, from the relatively straightforward to the complex, from manifold instances of pay withdrawal, to unfair dismissal, bullying and harassment and multiple forms of discrimination, and on their resolution or otherwise. It concludes by analysing IAERC's interaction with 'conventional' IR actors, and in re-engaging with Bellemare's (2000) instrumental and outcome dimensions, argues that the IAERC represents a significant 'not-so-new' IR actor.

This will be a hybrid meeting held in Room G.35, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School. The meeting will be held from 6-7.30pm.

For those unable to attend in person there is a Zoom link.

Past Meetings...