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Last updated: 03/04/09

Working Lives News, February 2009

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WLRI News February 2009

Want to be at the cutting edge of research on what’s happening at work in the UK and across Europe? In that case, look no further. This electronic newsletter brings you all the latest news and events from the Working Lives Research Institute. Last year was an exceptionally busy year for WLRI. But 2009 is looking still busier, with a host of exciting new projects, events, seminar series and more. We hope you find this E-newsletter informative and interesting, and our updated website easy to use. Please forward it to friends and colleagues, and encourage them to sign up to our mailing list.

We value your feedback so feel free to reply to this email and make suggestions about how you would like it to be improved. Working lives: workinglives@londonmet.ac.uk
Fundamental Rights Agency funds WLRI to research fight against racism
What are unions and employers in Europe doing to fight racism in the workplace? The EU agency, the Fundamental Rights Agency, has just commissioned the Working Lives Research Institute to give an answer to this key question.

The Vienna-based agency has given the WLRI the job of carrying out a 27-EU Member State survey of the responses of employers and trade unions to the 2000 Racial Equality Directive. This Directive has been transposed into law in every European country and in theory it should enable trade unions and employers to come to agreements challenging racism and helping foster real equality. But how many unions and employers know about the measure? Is the Directive doing the job? How could it do the job better?

To read full story click here
WLRI leads European team on union action on discrimination

There are laws to combat discrimination based on gender, race, religion or belief, disability, sexual orientation or age in all EU Member States and trade unions not only have a legal obligation to comply with these laws but have to ensure that they combat discrimination in their policies and practices. However little is known of what impact these laws have had on the ways that trade unions operate. This 35-country project, which is co-ordinated by the Working Lives Research Institute, seeks to investigate what trade unions are doing to combat discrimination. The project will focus on all 27-Member States, but in addition will also cover Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland and Turkey.

The research tender was commissioned by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. The Commission will play an active role in the project, by co-ordinating a project steering group on which members of the Commission and representatives from European trade unions will sit. The WLRI team will also carry out the research in close collaboration and consultation with European representatives of trade unions.

To read full story click here

Trade Union Seminar Series 2009

The Working Lives Research Institute Trade Union Seminars will continue in 2009, following last year’s popular series. These seminars bring academics, trade unionists, students and activists together in a forum of open debate to discuss some of the important issues facing the labour movement today. (Photo: Robert Day)

Some of the issues to be discussed in the forthcoming series include Equal Pay, Trade Union Mergers, Tripartism, Social Movement Unionism and Trade Union Internationalism. These sessions will all be introduced by well known trade unionists and supportive academics with respected research records in their field.

To read full story click here

Migration, globalisation and class: Lunchtime seminar series 2009

The WLRI lunchtime seminar series starts again in February. This year, the theme is ‘Migration, globalisation and class’, covering some of the key areas of research for the WLRI. Once again, we will be hosting prominent experts in their fields such as Prof. Les Back (University of London), Dr. Vassilis Monastiriotis (London School of Economics), Prof. Allan Williams (ISET), Dr Gordana Uzelac (DASS), Marek Kazmierski (Feltham Youth Offenders’ Institution), Nick Scott-Flynn (British Red Cross), and Dr Michal Garapich (CRONEM).

The series begins with a look at "Migration and Development: the case of Albania", with research presented by Dr Juli Vulnetari, from the Sussex Centre for Migration Research at the University of Sussex and Dr. Nick Mai, from the Institute for the Study of European Transformations (ISET), London Metropolitan University. This seminar will be held on Wednesday, 11 February instead of the 4 February, the first Wednesday of the month as it clashes with an international migration conference that WLRI is organising on that day.

To read full story click here

The Globalisation of Call Centres and Trade Union Organisation
Phil Taylor and Ciaron Naidoo spoke at the WLRI on Wednesday 21 January about the globalisation of call centres and prospects for trade union organisation in the UK and India.

Phil Taylor, Professor of Work and Employment Studies at University of Strathclyde (Photo: Ali Mobasser), drew from more than ten years of research on the off-shoring of call centre labour. He outlined the background and context to globalisation, challenging some assumptions and myths, before moving on to some opportunities and barriers to organising call centre workers.

Ciaron Naidoo spoke about his work with MSF and Amicus, predecessors to UNITE, as well as their current campaign to defend jobs in the finance sector call centres.

Profit maximisation and the saving of costs have been the driving force behind the process of Globalisation. Global outsourcing has largely - though not exclusively - been done from English speaking countries, epitomised by the off-shoring of call centres from the UK to India. This has not been a one way process, however; the Global Service Delivery Model has created a system whereby separate parts of a multinational company can operate in different continents, whilst being part of the same overall structure.

To read full story click here
Undocumented migrants face arduous path


Research across seven European countries has revealed that migrant workers are facing increasingly tight restrictions on their quality of life.

The research was publicised at a major conference on undocumented migrants held at London Metropolitan University. 100 participants from the UK and six other EU member states gathered for the event.

Leading experts on European migration attended and gave special sessions on shadow economies, legal status and labour market impacts. The project was co-ordinated by the Working Lives Research Institute which is based at London Met.

To read full story click here

The New Gold Rush

We are proud to announce the publication of Vol 2, No 2 of the interdisciplinary, international journal, 'Work Organisation Labour and Globalisation', entitled:

'The New Gold Rush: the new multinationals and the commodification of public sector work'

Over the past few years a new breed of multinationals has arrived, almost unnoticed, on the scene. Like early capitalist adventurers, they have found a rich new source of wealth to exploit. But this seam of gold is to be found, not in the mountains of California or the depths of Africa but at the very heart of the welfare states of the developed world.
HSE appoints WLRI expert to peer review inquiry

Dr Sonia McKay has been appointed as an Academic Peer Reviewer in respect of an Inquiry into the Underlying Causes of Construction Fatal Accidents. The Inquiry is Chaired by Rita Donaghy. The two other Peer Reviewers are Professor Andrew Hale, Delft University of Technology and Professor David Walters, Cardiff University. The work of the Academic Peer Reviewers commenced in January 2009 and will be completed by April 2009.

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