This seminar will cover the crisis in skills formation in the UK economy and the potential impact of Brexit. It will take place on Wednesday, 30th November 2016, from 3-6 pm at the University of Greenwich (Hamilton House). It features three expert speakers who will speak about the current skills shortages facing the UK labour market, the Government policies aimed to remedy them and the situation post-Brexit. Our speakers include Professor Ken Mayhew (University of Oxford and ex-economic director of the UK’s NEDC); Richard Meredith (University of Greenwich and previously employed in both the public employment service and private intermediary services) and Sue Fearns (Prospect – the trade union representing professional staff in the civil service and energy industry).
Ken Mayhew (University of Oxford) will explore Alternative Pathways into the Labour Market in the UK. Ken will argue that the current configuration of pathways into the labour market is massively sub-optimal. The consequence is that there is widespread under-utilisation of skills and capabilities together with harmful distributional consequences. He will go on to consider how policy makers might address the problems.
Ken Mayhew is Emeritus Professor of Education and Economic Performance at Oxford University, Emeritus Fellow in Economics at Pembroke College Oxford and Honorary Professor of Education and Economic Performance at Maastricht University. Currently he is a member of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body. He was Founding Director of SKOPE, an ESRC-funded multidisciplinary research centre on skills, knowledge and organisational performance. Outside academia he served as Economic Director of the UK’s former National Economic Development Office. Mayhew has published widely on labour economics, human resource management, the economics of education and policy analysis. He is an editor of Oxford Economic Papers and The Oxford Review of Economic Policy.
Richard Meredith (University of Greenwich) will talk about Local Enterprise Partnerships. Richard’s paper will investigate the responsibilities and membership of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in England to assess the prospects for devolution of employment and skills policy. The paper argues that LEPs represent a fresh, market-driven attempt by government to alter the institutional framework for meeting local labour market needs through devolved, business-led bodies. However, the paper also shows that while LEPs assume devolved powers, their structure, resourcing and leadership are poorly aligned for the engagement of local employers. It is therefore argued that the prospects for effective devolution in the area of employment and skills are weak. Rather, it is argued, government employment and skills programmes are set to be dominated by a centralised contracting regime involving large private sector agents.
Richard Meredith is an MPhil/PhD student and part-time lecturer within the Work and Employment Relations Unit at the University of Greenwich. His research interest is employers’ motives for recruiting the long term unemployed, particularly in the case of the UK. He has 23 years public sector experience (including the UK Public Employment Service) and 13 years industry experience in Employer Intermediary Services (including Business Link and Train to Gain).
Sue Fearns (Prospect) will look at Professional skills and the union perspective. Sue will cover three main issues in her talk: STEM skills – the current position and the post-Brexit outlook; skills and professional development in the civil service; and skills and the ‘productivity puzzle’. Sue will also reflect on the role of Prospect as a trade union representing highly skilled professionals within the UK labour market.
Sue Fearns is Deputy General Secretary at Prospect, the union for professionals. Her responsibilities in Prospect include leading the union’s work on equal opportunities; legal services; skills; campaigning and communications; and on science, engineering and sustainability. She is a member of the TUC General Council and Executive Committee, and is a board member of unionlearn, deputy chair of the Women’s Committee and a TUC Aid Trustee. She has been an active member of the Trade Union Sustainable Development Advisory Committee since its inception, and is the General Council’s lead on environment and sustainability. Sue is also Chair of Unions 21. Unions 21 provides an ‘open space’ for discussion on the future of the trade union movement and the world of work, helping to shape unions since 1993 by providing evidence, advice, new thinking and networks.She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and a trustee of the Science Council.
This is an open seminar and all are invited but please can you inform us if you are planning to attend from outside the University of Greenwich by contacting Professor Geoff White, on email@example.com.
On 11 October 2016 WERE-affiliated Prof Ian Greer was interviewed in the radio discussing research findings on musicians from project TEMS. He appeared live for nearly an hour on the mid-day talk program Lunch with Labour on WOLB AM 1010 in Baltimore. The conversation ranged from what is unique about the job of musicians, the current wave of industrial action in US symphony orchestras, why most symphony musicians are not really a privileged elite, and the difficulties of trade union organizing and improving diversity in music.
Please visit the following link to listen to the podcast: Lunch with Labor podcast
“The biggest difficulty we faced with the blacklisting and the undercover police campaigns, is that people think we live in a liberal democracy and things like that don’t happen here”: these are the words of John McDonnell, shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his keynote speech at the opening plenary of the Blacklisting, Bullying & Blowing the Whistle conference at the University of Greenwich co-hosted by Blacklist Support Group (BSG) and the Work & Employment Research Unit (WERU) last weekend.
The aim of the conference supported by New Internationalist and the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, was to expose the hidden underbelly of the modern workplace, where intrusive surveillance of workers is common and victimization of those prepared to stand up for their rights is widespread (but virtually ignored by the mainstream media). We certainly achieved that, with reports about the conference appearing in the press before, during and after the event.
The 4 core themes of the conference were: Blacklisting – Bullying – Whistleblowing – Police Surveillance. But the event was not just a conference, it was a book launch, a film premier and an art exhibition.
Speakers included: John McDonnell but also legal experts including; John Hendy QC, David Renton and Declan Owens, trade union leaders such as NUJ General Secretary, Michelle Stanistreet and ASGs; Gail,Cartmail (UNITE), Roger McKenzie (UNISON), Amanda Brown (NUT). Some of the UK’s leading academics in the field of work and whistleblowing were also in attendance such as Prof. Sian Moore, Prof. Keith Ewing, Prof. Phil Taylor, Prof. David Lewis, Dr Jack Fawbert and Dr Wim Vandekerckhove.
But it was the inclusion of activists on the panels that gave the conference its unique insight to the realities of the modern workplace and the weekend’s unique feel. From Roy Bentham and Dave Smith from the Blacklist Support Group, to Eileen Chubb and Dr Minh Alexander among many victimised whistleblowers speaking, plus Lee Jasper and Suresh Grover representing Black and Asian communities suffering under the austerity cuts and because of state surveillance.
Friday evening saw the film premier of the new ‘Blacklisted’ documentary by director Tom Wood (via Reel News) and the book launch of ‘Blacklisted: the secret war between big business and union activists’ by Dave Smith & Phil Chamberlain published by New Internationalist.
Art Against Blacklisting organised an installation of original works plus a photographic and art exhibition by supportive artists and photographers including works by Mike Huges, Shaun Dey, Guy Smallman, Jess Hurd, Zita Holbourne, Molly Cooper, Andrew Wiard, Mike Hughes, Lucy Parker and Joanne Fowler.
The biggest news story of the weekend and the most memorable session in the conference related to undercover police surveillance of activists. The police spy known as ‘Carlo Neri’ was accused of inciting anti-racist campaigners to firebomb a charity that he claimed was run by an Italian fascist. This allegation appeared in the ‘Blacklisted’ book launched at the conference and made the national press. ‘Andrea’, the female activist who was deceived into a long term relationship with the undercover officer spoke in public for the very first time at the spycops plenary session at the conference, which was chaired by the BSG and Police Spies Out of Lives spokesperson, Helen Steel. Andrea’s emotional testimony was the most memorable part of the weekend.
McDonnell told the delegates to the conference “You tell us what you want a Corbyn Labour government to introduce, and I will make sure it gets discussed at the highest level”. We intend to do just that.
Below are just a few of the press and photo-journalism reports generated by from the conference:
BSG would like to say a ‘massive thank you’ to everyone who helped make the event possible. From the speakers, the University of Greenwich events staff, the artists and musicians.
This seminar considers the issue of migrant labour and will take place on Wednesday, 5th October 2012, from 3-6 pm at the University of Greenwich (Hamilton House-room102). In the context of the Brexit decision it is especially important to put labour migration into a transnational context, taking into account global neo-liberalization processes and the effects of other types of movements (capital, goods and services) on the movement of labour and growing inequality. We have three expert speakers:
Professor Alan Manning (London School of Economics) is a member of the Migration Advisory Committee and will speak about the role of the committee, its research and its future post-Brexit. Alan Manning is Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics. He studied at Clare College Cambridge and received his DPhil at Nuffield College Oxford before becoming a lecturer at Birkbeck College London. He has worked at the LSE since 1989 and was Head of the Economics Department from 2009-2012. He has published widely on labour economics and is currently researching the impact of minimum wages on wage inequality in the UK and the USA, the impact of immigration on wages, the cyclicality in wages and reservation wage and the migration response to local shocks.
Dr Barbara Samaluk (University of Greernwich) will speak about her research on labour migration from post-socialist central and eastern Europe (CEE) to the UK. Her talk will focus on the strategies of migrant workers from Poland and Slovenia within the process of transnational exchange characterized by emerging transnational staffing agencies that use various tactics to extract profits from those wishing to migrate and new arrivals, who are not yet familiar with UK’s institutions, standards and practices. It will expose unequal economic and symbolic geographies caused by the global expansion of neoliberalism, which push workers to emigrate, inform their initial choices and affect the skill level and pay at which migrant workers find themselves when they arrive to an unfamiliar labour market.
Barbara Samaluk is a postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Work and Employment Research Unit at the University of Greenwich Business School. Her research interests include transnational employment relations, migration and intersectionality, marketization effects and growing precarity within rescaled and shrinking post-socialist welfare states and emerging forms of worker-(non) citizens representation and activism. She is currently involved in an ERC project on the effects of marketization on societies and in a European Trade Union Institute project on trade union innovation within post-socialist CEE countries. She has just been awarded a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship for a new research project that aims to investigate work transitions and transnational mobility of young and precarious teachers and social care workers from Slovenian post-crisis and austerity driven context.
Professor Sonia McKay (Universities of the West of England and Greenwich) will base her contribution around research conducted as part of a two-year ESRC funded project, UndocNet. The project investigated the working lives of migrants without documents living in London together with the experiences and rationales of minority ethnic employers employing those without documents. She will focus on the contradictions between state policies that, while marginalising and criminalising migrants without documents, at the same time endorse exploitative labour practices through an absence of regulation and weak employment rights. She will draw on a recently published book, ‘Living on the margins – undocumented migrants in a global city’, written with Professor Alice Bloch, the co-investigator on the ESRC project.
Sonia McKay is a visiting Professor of European Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Greenwich as well as the University of the West of England. She was previously at the Working Lives Research Institute, London Metropolitan University where she headed a number of research projects, mainly focusing on discrimination, migration and collective organisation at both national and EU level. Prior to this she worked as the researcher in employment law at the Labour Research Department, a post she held for 20 years. She holds a law degree from Queens University, Belfast and a PhD in employment law from Wolfson College, Cambridge.
This is an open seminar but please inform Professor Geoff White (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are planning to attend from outside the University of Greenwich.
The conference will take place at the University of Greenwich on 16th and 17th September 2016. It is organised by Blacklist Support Group (BSG) and the Work & Employment Research Unit (WERU) at the University of Greenwich supported by New Internatinalist and Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust. A key aim will be to explore the different and interlocking ways in which surveillance and intensified control operate; in the workplace, in employment and in relation to community campaigns and civil rights activism.
Plenary sessions and workshops will consider the blacklisting and victimisation of activists and the treatment of whistleblowers, who have both highlighted corporate malpractice in the private sector and failures in public service provision. They will also consider the modern workplace tyranny of performance management where workers are bullied by intense monitoring and measurement of their work, with potentially discriminatory effects on disabled, Black and Minority Ethnic, migrant, women and older and younger workers. The conference brings together academics, politicians, lawyers and activists with a view to inputting into the formulation of a programme of policy and action that can restore workplace rights and fairness at work.
The conference will be accompanied by:
- The launch of the book by Dave Smith and Phil Chamberlain: Blacklisted The Secret War between Big Business and Union Activists.
- Documentary movie ‘Blacklisted’ directed by Tom Wood-Reel News.
- Art exhibition curated by Art Against Blacklisting
- Videos by Reel News shown will be shown on the big screen at every break.
For more information on the conference and how to book your place, please visit the following link.
A WERU member, dr Barbara Samaluk, was awarded the Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship tenable for a research project entitled “Aiming for skilled or secure employment on the EU market: a Sisyphean task?”. The project will investigate the process of work transitions and transnational mobility of qualified young and precarious teachers and social care workers. It will expose the labour invested by workers when moving between various work and non-work statuses and geographical and political boundaries and their strategies and choices of channels/intermediaries used in search for skilled or secure employment on the EU market. The context is the socio-economic costs of Slovenian austerity and these are considered through a multilevel and transnational methodological approach which aims to explore the effects on employment, emigration and the relations of transnational exchange.
More information about this award can be found on the following link: http://www2.gre.ac.uk/about/news/articles/2016/a3674-barbara-samaluk-leverhulme