Dr Charles Umney - BA (Hons) Leeds College of Music; MA Leeds; PhD

Lecturer in Work and Employment Relations

I joined CERIC as a senior member of staff in January 2015, after having spent three years as a lecturer at the University of Greenwich. Prior to this, I also studied for my PhD at Leeds University Business School (LUBS) between 2008-2011.

My doctoral research was an ESRC-funded studentship which looked at international trade union mobilisation, supervised by Dr Ian Greer and Professor Mark Stuart (both at LUBS) as well as Dr Christine Harlen (department for Politics and International Studies, University of Leeds). My work from this project has been published in journals such as European Journal of Industrial Relations and Industrial Relations Journal.

Since completing my PhD I have broadened my research interests. My most recent published research has examined the labour market for live music performance in the UK and France, focusing in particular on the question of musicians’ pay, as well as the ways new technology is changing the operations of freelancer labour markets. This research has been featured on BBC Radio 4’s Thinking Allowed, and has been published in journals including Work, Employment and Society, Human Relations, British Journal of Industrial Relations, and Work and Occupations. 

Currently my research focus is shifting towards a more social policy focus with a particular interest in France. Recent work in this respect focuses on welfare-to-work systems and social care projects in comparative perspective. I lecture on diverse subjects but concentrate mainly on international and comparative employment relations, which I teach at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

PhD supervision

I would be keen to supervise PhD students looking to undertake qualitative research in the following areas: work and employment in the arts and ‘creative industries’; trade union mobilisation; marketisation and social policy; welfare-to-work systems. 

Recent publications

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


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 (2016) ‘The labour market for jazz musicians in London and Paris: Formal regulation and informal norms’ Human Relations 69(3): 711-729

w/ Schulte, L; Greer, I; Symon, G and Iankova, K (2017) ‘Insertion versus workfare: active labour market schemes in the Parisian suburbs’ forthcoming at Journal of European Social Policy (forthcoming)

w/ Coderre-LaPalme, G (2017) ‘Blocked and new frontiers for trade unions: contesting the meaning of work in the creative and caring sectors’ forthcoming at British Journal of Industrial Relations (forthcoming)

Umney, C (2017) ‘Moral economy, intermediaries and intensified competition in the labour market for function musicians’ forthcoming at Work, Employment and Society (forthcoming)

w/ Greer, I; Onaran, O; Symon, G (2017) ‘The state and class discipline: European labour market policy after the financial crisis’ Capital and Class  (forthcoming)

Contact and CV

Email: c.r.umney@leeds.ac.uk

Curriculum Vitae