Charles Umney

Associate Professor in Work and Employment Relations

+44(0)113 343 2615
Academic, Centre for Employment Relations, Innovation and Change (CERIC), Work and Employment Relations
GM.24, Maurice Keyworth Building
Centre for Employment Relations, Innovation and Change (CERIC):
Curriculum Vitae:
Charles Umney CV
Trade unions, social policy, social protection, arts and cultural work, 'platform' work, Marxist theory, class and state.


2012: PhD, University of Leeds
2007: MA (International Studies) University of Leeds
2005: BA Hons (Jazz Studies) Leeds College of MusicAssociations and Professional Memberships:
British Universities Industrial Relations Association


2013-2014: Senior lecturer, University of Greenwich
2011-2013: Lecturer, University of Greenwich


I have a diverse range of ongoing research interests. My main areas of focus are:

1.    Artistic labour markets- with a specific focus on jazz musicians. I have looked at mapping the variegated labour processes encompassed in my participants’ careers, the conditions of work they encounter, the potential for organisation and self-organisation among them, and the formation of informal norms in the live performance market.
2.    ‘Marketisation’ in France, and particularly in the sectors of ports, health and social work. I am currently gathering data in Paris for a large comparative study of ‘marketisation’ in five European countries, with a particular interest in attempts to engineer competition via public markets, and the consequences for the service delivery and organisation.
3.    International trade unionism. My PhD research looked at the different ways in which trade unions may seek to cooperate across borders, through the lens of Marxist theory.

I currently supervise PhD students looking at the topics of welfare state marketisation, and the role of trade unions in the whistleblowing process. My research on the topics above has been published in journals such as Work, Employment and Society, Industrial Relations Journal and European Journal of Industrial Relations. My research on the labour market for jazz musicians has been featured on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Thinking Allowed’ programme.


LUBS5337M: Global Perspectives on HRM and Employment Relations
LUBS3095: Global Perspectives on HRM and Employment Relations



  • Umney, C (2018) Class Matters: Inequality and Exploitation in 21st Century Britain (Pluto Press)
  • Alberti, G., Bessa, I., Hardy, K., Trappmann, V., & Umney, C. (2018). In, Against and Beyond Precarity: Work in Insecure Times. Work, Employment and Society32(3), 447-457
  • w/ Greer, I; Onaran, O; Symon, G (2017) ‘The state and class discipline: European labour market policy after the financial crisis’ Capital and Class 42(2): 333-351
  • Umney, C (2017) ‘Moral economy, intermediaries and intensified competition in the labour market for function musicians’ Work, Employment and Society 31(5): 831-845 This paper nominated for the SAGE prize for innovation and excellence
  • w/ C0derre-LaPalme, G (2017) ‘Blocked and new frontiers for trade unions: contesting the meaning of work in the creative and caring sectors’ British Journal of Industrial Relations 55(4): 859-878
  • w/ Schulte, L; Greer, I; Symon, G and Iankova, K (2017) ‘Insertion versus workfare: active labour market schemes in the Parisian suburbs’ Journal of European Social Policy (online first form)
  • Umney, C (2016) ‘The labour market for jazz musicians in London and Paris: Formal regulation and informal norms’ Human Relations 69(3): 711-729
  • Umney, C and Kretsos, L (2015) ‘”That’s the Experience”: Passion, Work Precarity and Life Transitions among  London Jazz Musicians’ Work and Occupations 42(3): 313-334
  • Umney, C and Kretsos, L (2014) ‘Creative Autonomy and Collective Interaction: The Working Lives of Young Jazz Musicians in London’ Work, Employment and Society 28:4 571-588 This paper nominated for the 2014 SAGE prize for innovation and excellence
  • Umney, C (2012) ‘Managerial and Mobilizing Internationalism in the British Docks and Seafaring Sector’ European Journal of Industrial Relations 18(1): 71-89
  • Umney, C (2011) ‘The International Labour Movement and China’ Industrial Relations Journal 42(4): 322-338

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