Analytically rigorous research

Engineer and office workers looking at designs

Current projects

Impact of the agency worker regulations on employer and agency practice

Funded by Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) - £9, 800. 

Led by Professor Chris Forde, in collaboration with Dr Gary Slater (University of Bradford), the research will involve interviews with agencies, employers, unions and industry representatives and will take place in March and April, 2013.

The sustainability of union-led learning

Funded by TUC unionlearn - £80, 000. 

Led by Professor Mark Stuart, in collaboration with Dr Hugh Cook, Jo Cutter and Dr Stephen Mustchin, the research involves qualitative and quantitative approaches to understanding the potential sustainability of the union learning model with employers and the longer-term policies being adopted by unions to integrate learning. The research, conducted between September 2012- July 2013, involves case studies of ten leading unions and 20 employer bodies, along with surveys of union officials and employers.

Worldwide Flexible Careers Network

Funded by the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) - £15, 000.

The network is led by Professor Jennifer Tomlinson, and involves CERIC researchers Dr Ioulia Bessa, Dr Liz Oliver and Mark Stuart, along with researchers at partner institutions Sydney University and Michigan State University. The first meeting of the network will be held in Sydney in June 2013. Jan 2013-Dec 2014.

Better healthcare for all

Funded by EU Cost Action - €300, 000.

Professor Ian Kirkpatrick leads an international research network, involving partners in 19 countries, investigating the structure and management of hospitals around the world. The research network aims to identify and share best practice in healthcare organisation and management training both within and outside the EU, to examine where there are differences the factors and conditions that explain them. The research network includes partners in many European nations, as well as Australia, Brazil, Canada and the USA. 2009-2014.

Broad-based community alliances: a comparative study of London and Sydney

Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) - £97, 446.  

Led by Dr Jane Holgate the research involved more than 100 interviews with community-based organisers. The research focused initially on activities in London and Sydney, but, with the support of LUBS internal funding, was extended to include Seattle. The research ran from 2010 till 2012.

Evaluation of the Union Modernisation Fund

Funded by Department of Business, Innovation and Skills - £100, 000.

The project was co-ordinated from Leeds and also involved researchers at Manchester. The UK government put between £5-10 million into the Fund to support trade union modernisation projects between 2005-2012. Our research has tracked and evaluated this development and advised government officials on policy formation. It has been a highly sensitive and high-profile project operating in a ‘live’ policy environment. The research involved three research phases that evaluated each of the three rounds. The final evaluation report of UMF3, looking at vulnerable workers, is to be published in 2013. 2005-2013. Major internal investments 

Work, care and global transitions

CERIC researchers are collaborating with researchers in the Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law on a major University of Leeds Transformation Fund project looking at Building Sustainable Societies. The Work and Care hub is co-directed by Professor Mark Stuart (CERIC) and Professor Sue Yeandle (CIRCLE). The research explores the challenges posed by population ageing and global economic uncertainties for systems of work and care. The research will run from 2011-2016 and during this time seven new appointments will be made, including two post doctoral appointments in CERIC, Dr Jo Ingold and Dr Ioulia Bessa.

Hybrid areas of work

Funded by the European Research Council.

Seizing the Hybrid Areas of work by Representing self-Employment (SHARE) is a transdisciplinary and multi-method study of the hybrid areas of work, with a particular focus on the work arrangements that destabilise traditional employment relations.

The project will be carried out at the University of Leeds under the direction of Dr Annalisa Murgia, Centre for Employment Relations, Innovation and Change (CERIC) at Leeds University Business School. The project team will include four postdoctoral researchers (2018-22) and one PhD student (2018-21).

Completed projects

EU social rights/ internal market law

“Compatibility of social and labour rights recognised in EU legislation with European internal market and competition law”

A team of academics from the University of Leeds and Queen’s University Belfast along with international partners from across four EU Member States are investigating tensions within the EU’s legal framework between on the one hand social and labour rights and on the other internal market law (comprising economic freedoms and competition rules).

This nine-month contract is worth 118,000 € and was awarded via a Multiple Framework Services Contract with the European Parliament’s Research Department for the provision of expertise on regulatory and policy issues in the field of social policy and social protection to the EP’s committee on Employment and Social Affairs.

The study began in September 2014 and is due to report findings in May 2015.

The study is designed to:

  • Identify tensions between EU social and labour rights and the hard law of the EU internal market;
  • Give a systematic overview of how such conflicts have been reconciled
  • Suggest policy recommendations to the most relevant actors, including the European Parliament, based on the identified common trends.

It takes as its those social and labour rights (set out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU) that have been the subject matter of the most contentious judicial (and policy) developments in recent years namely:

  • Rights related to industrial democracy and collective bargaining (Articles 12, 27 and 28)
  • Right to fair and just working conditions (Article 31)
  • Rights to social security and social assistance (Article 34)

And explores tensions with the EU’s internal market and competition law.

The research combines legal analysis with comparative empirical research and is conducted around the following phases:

  1. Mapping the relevant legal frame
  2. Identifying clashes and conflict at EU and national levels
  3. Identifying responses to those conflicts at national and EU levels
  4. Developing policy responses

The team
The project team is based at the University of Leeds in the Centre of Employment Relations, Innovation and Change (CERIC, Faculty of Business) and the Centre for International Research on Care, Labour and Equalities (CIRCLE, School of Sociology and Social Policy) as well as the School of Law. The team is led by Professor Dagmar Schiek, School of Law, Queen’s University Belfast. A network of international partners contribute to the comparative, empirical aspects of the study.

The principal investigator
Professor Dagmar Schiek (Queen’s University Belfast)

The multi-disciplinary team at the University of Leeds 
Professor Chris Forde - Professor of Employment Studies and deputy director of CERIC
Dr Andrea Wigfield - Associate Professor of Social Policy, Director of Care Connect, and Deputy Director of CIRCLE
Dr Liz Oliver - lecturer in employment law at CERIC
Dr Gabriella Alberti - Lecturer in employment relations at CERIC
Dr Pinar Akman  - Associate Professor in law, deputy director of Centre for Business Law and Practice
Dr Peter Whelan - Associate Professor in law, deputy director of Centre for Criminal Justice Studies

The international partners
Prof Niklas Bruun and Dr Kerstin Ahlberg -  ReMarkLab project, University of Stockholm
Prof Julia Lopez and Prof Consuelo Chacartegui Jávega - GRETDISS, University Pompeo Fabra, Barcelona
Prof Michael Doherty, National University of Ireland, Maynooth
Dr Joanna Unterschütz - Assistant Professor in the Department of Labour Law and Social Security at the University of Business and Administration in Gdynia, Poland.

2008 - 2012

'The impact of the National Minimum Wage on the earnings, hours and work of domiciliary workers’, Low Pay Commission (With Moore, S. (PI), Forde, C. and Stuart, M.), April to Oct 2012. £27,800. The study involved a statistical analysis of the National Minimum Dataset of care workers and a number of qualitative case studies of local authority contracting arrangement for domiciliary care.

‘Women transport workers and the crisis’, International Transport Federation, (Stuart, M., Forde, C., Holgate, J. and Tomlinson, J.), Jan-July 2012. £20,000. This was a study providing both quantitative and qualitative research on women transport workers and the economic crisis. The research involved a literature review of the impact of the crisis on women workers internationally, a number of qualitative case studies of selected sectors in the transport sector, and a quantitative analysis of data sets including ILO, BLS and LFS.  

‘Broad-based community alliances: a comparative study of London and Sydney’ Funding provided to extend the ESRC grant to include a third case study – Seattle. Seed Corn Funding from Leeds University Business School, (with Holgate, J.), 2012, £1680.

'The State of the Yorkshire Economy', Higher Education Impact Innovation Fund, Principal Investigator (with Andrew Robinson, A. (PI), Stuart, M., Buckley, P., Voss, H. and Ellwood, P. LUBS. January 2011-July 2011. £17,500.

‘Diversity in the legal profession in England and Wales’, (Sommerlad, H. Webley, L, Duff, L. Muzio, D. and Tomlinson, J) funded by the Legal Services Board. 2010, £46,000. This qualitative study of 77 white women and BME law students, graduates, solicitors, barristers and other legal professionals including diversity managers was designed to explore experience of recruitment, culture and perceived informal barriers to progression within the profession.

‘Engaging communities and building social capital’, GMB (Union Modernisation Fund). With Holgate, J. 2010, £10,000.

'Migration Worker Project: The experiences of migrants in Barnsley', I. (with Forde., Mackenzie, R. and Ciupijus, Z.) December 2009-April 2010. £8,000.

'The Role of Employment Agencies in Pay Setting', ACAS, Forde, C. (PI), (with Slater, G. University of Bradford). June 2009-September 2010. £12,000.

'A Comparative Study of Non-Standard Employment', Japanese Institute for Labour Policy and Training (JILPT), Co-investigator (with Forde, C. and Slater, G. University of Bradford). June 2009-March 2010. £4,000.

‘The Regulation of Irregular Workers in the New Japan’, Japan Foundation. MacKenzie, R. Dec 2009, £1540.

'E-Skills Funding in Europe', European Commission, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, through EU Research Associates, (Forde, C.,Stuart, M. (PI)), CERIC. April 2009-December 2009; June 2009- March 2010. £12,000. The CERIC involvement in this EU project focused on a review of the literature on the financial implications and incentives for promoting the e-skills sector, including an assessment of human capital investment tax credit programmes.

‘Managing for Change’, knowledge transfer partnership, Leeds University Business School with Leeds Teaching Hospital, ESRC,  (with Kirkpatrick, I., Maltby, B. and Mascie-Taylor, H.). 2008-2010, £40,000.

‘Organising and case work in the NUT’, National Union of Teachers, (Tomlinson, J. and Stuart, M.) 2009, £13,000. This was a study providing both quantitative and qualitative research, combining a survey of all NUT branch representatives in England and Wales regarding casework and organising and 20 follow up interviews with branch representatives about qualitative aspects of their case work and workload.  

‘Evaluation of Unionlearn and the Union Learning Fund’, TUC Unionlearn/ DIUS, (Stuart, M., Cutter, J. and Winterton, J.) 2009-11, £161,000 – This was the largest evaluation of the ULF conducted to-date, involving mixed methods, which included a large employers’ survey, a survey of union project workers, analysis of learning agreements, analysis of a large dataset of union learners and 15 detailed qualitative cases of organisational practice.

‘Restructuring, redundancy and sustainable employment: the challenges of the contemporary economic crisis’, Worldwide Universities Network Leeds Fund for International Research Collaboration (Stuart, M., Greer, I., Forde, C., Greenwood, I. and MacKenzie, R.) 2009-2010. £19,980. This project focused on network building. A network of more than ten international partners, including Sydney, Milan, Toulouse, Leuven, Karlstad etc, shared research findings on the impact of the economic crisis at two workshops in Leeds and Milan and a special Symposium at the ILERA European Congress in Copenhagen in 2010.

‘Evaluation of Collective Learning Fund: Phase 2’, Trade Union Congress, Unionlearn, (Stuart, M.) 2008. £23,000 - This evaluation built on early CERIC work on the CLF round 1. It involved an analysis or project output records and a number of case studies of CLF projects.

'Conceptualising Contemporary Professions', (Muzio, D, Falconbridge, J., Tomlinson, J.) ESRC Seminar Series. 2008-9. £14,000. This ESRC seminar series drew together academics, policy makers and practitioners on a range of issues confronting contemporary professions including globalisation, the future of the professions and diversity and inclusion. Seminars were held in Leeds, Lancaster, Nottingham and London.

'The Business Case for Diversity', (Gold, J., Ford, J., Sommerlad, H., Tomlinson, J.) Funded by Yorkshire Forward and Learning Skills Council. 2008, £450,000. This Yorkshire Forward investment plan engaged businesses and training providers with evidence on the business case for diversity, tailored to the West Yorkshire region. Training resources and learning toolkits were developed and embedded in the curriculum of training providers.

‘Modern Union Representatives: Case Studies Research’, Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, for CBI/TUC/BERR Joint Working Group (Stuart, M., Charlwood, A., Tomlinson, J. and Perrett, R.) 2008. £12,805. The project involved ‘good practice’ case studies, involving management and union interviews, of specific examples of union representatives, such as union learning representatives, green representatives and equality representatives.

‘Learning through Work’, South East England Development Agency, (Stuart, M. and Winterton, J.). 2008, £26,000 – This was an evaluation project that included a review of documentary sources and a number of organisational case studies.

2001 - 2008

‘Encouraging Workplace Dialogue on Training and Skills – Case Studies’, Funded by Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform for BERR/TUC/CBI/DIUS Joint Working Group (Stuart, M., Forde, C. and Cutter, J.). 2007. £14,824.

‘Collective Learning Fund Pilot Evaluation Phase 1’, Trade Union Congress unionlearn. (Stuart, M. and Wallis, E.). 2007. £9,975.

‘Union learning in the Yorkshire region’, TUC Yorkshire Region (Stuart, M., Greenwood, I. and Tomlinson, J.). 2007. £6,000.

‘Employment relations in UK finance sector’, Korea Labor Institute (Stuart, M. and Martinez Lucio, M.). 2007. $8,000.

‘Review of on-the-job learning methodologies’, South East Economic Development Agency. (Stuart, M. and Wallis, E.). 2007. £10,000.

‘An Impact study on relocation, restructuring and the viability of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund: The impact on employment, working conditions and regional development’, European Parliament. (Stuart, M., Forde, C. and MacKenzie, R.) 2006. €39,950.

‘Good Employment Relations in the UK offshore oil industry’, (with Forde, C, Stuart, M. and Mackenzie, R.), International Labour Office. 2004. $4,500.

‘Informal Networks and the Representation of Workers’ Interests’, (with Saundry, R. Central Lancs and Stuart, M.), Economic and Social Research Council. 2004-06. £46,988.

‘Qualitative Evaluation of ACAS Advisory Project Work’, (Stuart, M. and Martinez Lucio, M.), Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. May 2004- Jan 2005. £18,000.

‘Analysis of Blueprint for Business Success’, (Stuart, M. and Robinson, A.), Campaign for Learning. May – July 200. £6,000.

‘Examination of the social and economic impact of steel redundancies in Wales’, (M. Stuart, Greenwood, I., Forde, C., MacKenzie, R. and Gardiner, J.), Steel Partnership Training/ ISTC Community Union. Dec 2002 – Dec 2003. £26,805.

‘Investigation of Trade Union Learning Representative initiative’, (Stuart, M., Wallis, E. and Greenwood, I.), Trade Union Congress: Learning Services. Nov 2002 – Sept 2003. £16,683.

‘Sustaining Partnership in an Environment of Uncertainty’, (Stuart, M. and Martinez Lucio, M.) Department of Trade and Industry: Partnership Fund. Sept 2002 – Feb 2005 – (Amicus trade union, lead partner). £94,720.

‘Raising the Demand for Learning’, (M. Stuart) European Union: Equal Programme. Sept 2002 – Sept 2005 – This was a £2.6 million pound project, co-ordinated by the Campaign for Learning. £96,960.

‘Learning in Partnership: Responding to the Restructuring of the European Steel and Metal Sectors’, (Learnpartner), European Union: Framework 5 Programme – socio-economic research key action. Stuart, M. (Principal Applicant and Project Co-ordinator). Sept 2001 – June 2005 –The project included eight research partners, from seven countries. €1,200,000 (plus €250,000 match funding).