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Research

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The members of CGLR are active researchers, exploring trade unionism, new social movements, work organization, state regulation, the impact of globalization and other topics.

Much of our work is commissioned by trade unions and labour related organizations, such as the Trades Union Congress, International Transport Federation, International Labour Organization, EMF, PCS, UNISON and UCATT. Other work is commissioned by organisations concerned with social justice and human rights e.g. the Bevan Foundation and Amnesty International UK.

We also conduct work backed by a range of funding bodies, including the Economic and Social Research Council, the Nuffield Foundation, the European Union and others. Cardiff University has also supported research by CGLR.

On the link below are some recent research projects that have been completed by CGLR members or which currently are underway. If you would like to know more about these projects then please contact the CGLR member(s) involved (see contact details).

 

Research Projects

Edmund Heery and David Nash (CGLR): The Use of Collective Conciliation by Trade Union Officials, funded by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), 2010-2011.

This project uses second data analysis of an existing ACAS survey to explore the use by paid trade union officials of the collective conciliation service provided by ACAS. A feature of dispute resolution in recent years has been the declining use by unions of ACAS services. This project seeks to explore this question and identify the reasons why conciliation may be of declining attractiveness to unions as a means of resolving collective disputes.


 

Edmund Heery (CGLR), Brian Abbott (Kingston University), Steve Williams (Portsmouth University), Worker Representation through Civil Society Organizations, funded by the Nuffield Foundation and Cardiff University, 2007-2009.

This project examined the role of civil society organizations (CSOs) in representing workers within the UK. The focus was on large national charities, NGOs and campaigning bodies that increasingly have attempted to improve working conditions, often for a designated constituency such as gay and lesbian workers or working carers. The project measured the involvement of CSOs in worker representation, described its form and origins and analysed the relationship of CSOs with government, employers and trade unions. It also sought to evaluate CSO activity and gauge its significance. A series of publications have resulted from the project, details of which can be found on the CGLR publications page.


 

Edmund Heery (CGLR) Amnesty and the Unions: 30 Years of Solidarity for Human Rights, commissioned by Amnesty International UK with support from Cardiff University, 2008-2010.

This commissioned history examined the involvement of British trade unions in the work of Amnesty International. The British section of Amnesty has had a formal relationship with trade unions for more than 30 years and in 2009 signed a Memorandum of Understanding, a commitment to joint work, with the TUC. The project traced the origins and form of this relationship, focusing on Amnesty’s trade union network. A key objective was to record the involvement of trade unions in human rights activism, a feature of their role that has been largely neglected in research literature. In 2010 AIUK published the history, with a launch at the annual Trades Union Congress.


 

Edmund Heery (CGLR) and Marco Hauptmeier (CGLR) Collective Action by Employers in the United Kingdom: An Exploratory Study, funded by Cardiff University, 2010-2011.

Collective organization and action by employers is both an established and in certain respects growing feature of the UK labour market. In parts of the economy, such as construction, media and public services, traditional employers’ associations continue to set industry-wide terms and conditions through collective bargaining with trade unions. In other sectors, such as engineering, although industry bargaining has collapsed long-established employers’ associations continue to function. The past two decades has also seen the emergence of at least two new forms of employers’ organization. The first are the ‘employers’ forums’, membership organizations that deal with single issues in the field of equality and diversity. Examples include Opportunity Now, Race for Opportunity, and the Employers’ Forum on Age. The second are organizations created to promote CSR and ethical employment practices along supply chains. The most notable organization of this type in the UK is the Ethical Trading Initiative but other examples that involve UK businesses but which operate at a global scale are the Global Social Compliance Programme (retail), MFA (clothing), the Ethical Tea Partnership and ICCTI (toys). The purpose of this exploratory project is to map, count, and characterise the main forms of both established and novel employers’ organization in UK business. It will also identify case organizations within each of the main types and undertake research on the membership, governance, functions and outcomes associated with each.


 

Dean Stroud (CGLR, with Peter Turnbull, Peter Fairbrother, Ed Heery and Miguel Martínez Lucio) Women in Ports, commissioned by the ITF and ETF, 2008-2009

The Women in Ports research project addresses concerns raised by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) with regard to gender equality and the strategic importance of women’s employment in ports. The catalyst for the project is the ETF’s Action Plan for Gender Equality 2005-2009 and discussions held at the ITF’s 41st Congress in Durban in 2006 on the challenges and organising priorities facing the Federation’s unions across the globe. Subsequently, the ITF and ETF commissioned Cardiff University to conduct a pilot project with the four key objectives: i) mapping women’s employment across ports and, in particular, the distinctive characteristics of women’s employment ii) identifying new strategic positions within modern port operations iii) mapping and assessing levels of union organisation and membership, and iv) to assess the potential for organizing women workers in ports, particularly those occupying strategic positions.


 

Dean Stroud (CGLR) Corus Training Evaluation, funded by the Corus Centre of Excellence, 2009-2010

This project aimed to provide an evaluation of a new training initiative introduced at the Corus Port Talbot plant by the Corus Centre of Excellence in Energy Optimisation, By Product and Waste Management. The Centre’s objective is ‘to explore more energy efficient and materials efficient technology, both of which contribute to the business’ competitiveness and also contribute to environmental care’. One particular focus of the Centre is skills development. The focus of this research is an evaluation of the Centre’s Basics of Gas Combustion Training (BGCT) course, which takes place at Cardiff University’s Gas Turbine Research Centre, located at Port Talbot on a former part of the Corus site. The BGCT course was developed following concerns about ‘gas combustion’ related skills gaps in the workforce, and a need for increased awareness of gas combustion as part of wider aims to improve health and safety, as well as (environmental and cost) efficiency gains to be made from improved training in this area.


 

Dean Stroud (CGLR) Workforce Development, Recruitment and Retention, funded by CGLR and the European Metalworkers’ Federation, 2009 and on-going

This project aims to develop, through the Steel Sector Social Dialogue Committee, a common position on Workforce Development, Recruitment and Retention. A number initiatives flow out of this wider aim, including the creation of a European sectoral skills and jobs council.


 

Dean Stroud (CGLR, with EU partners) Greening Technical VET - Sustainable Training Module for the European Steel Industry funded by the European Union Leonardo da Vinci programme, 2011-2014

The project aims to investigate systematic ongoing and short term training pathways by focusing on skills for ecological sustainability, which are a key for the global competitiveness of all European industries. As a model an industry driven and run European sustainable training module will be developed in correspondence with the national VET systems. With a partnership of steel companies and research institutes from each participating member state the project aims to identify and anticipate the impacts of ecological legislation in everyday work of skilled workers both for today and future. Independent of the different VET system of the member states, VET practices and learning outcomes need to be evaluated with respect to ecological skills, expertise and awareness. Based on these insights a European training module will be developed to obtain identical European learning outcomes in the field of green skills and sustainable awareness within technical VET (focussing on preventing pollution and securing occupational health and safety).