Institute of Employment Rights
Diana and myself attended a seminar on Wednesday this week on an update in Employment law, and were very impresse by the event and the organisation that put the event on (at the fabulous new UNISON HQ on the 9th Floor on Euston Road).
This is from their website:
What Is the Institute?The Institute of Employment Rights is a think tank for the labour movement and a charity. We exist to inform the debate around trade union rights and labour law by providing information, critical analysis, and policy ideas through our network of academics, researchers and lawyers.
We were established in February 1989 as an independent organisation to act as a focal point for the spread of new ideas in the field of labour law. In 1994 the Institute became a registered charity.
John Hendy QC, Chair of the Institute of Employment Rights"We hope to provide the labour movement with the information and history needed to develop an alternative and more equitable framework of labour law. British working people have suffered for too long from some of the worst terms and conditions, and fewer rights and freedoms at work, in the world. By providing comparative information and details of internationally accepted standards we hope to improve this situation"
What do we do?
Employment law conferences and seminars
Each conference also comes with ample opportunity for delegates to join the debate and ask questions of our expert speakers.
Click here to browse our forthcoming employment law conferences and seminars
Employment law publications and journals
Click here to browse our employment law publications
Subscription servicesSubscribers to the Institute of Employment Rights receive a package of benefits including free access to all of our employment law publications and reduced entry fees to our employment law conferences and seminars. Click here to subscribe to the Institute of Employment Rights
Commissioned WorkWe conduct research and produce publications commissioned by other organisations, including trade unions. Our role in relation to the trade union movement is to provide expert analysis on policy and our commissioned work is a major part of offering this services.
Briefings and consultation responsesThe Institute produces regular briefings on labour law, with our network of experts and academics providing critical analysis and recommendations on all aspects of employment rights and legislation.
The Institute also submits written consultation responses in the defense of employment rights when the government proposes new policy that could put them in danger.
Research Project WorkThe Institute also undertakes collective research projects which aim to reveal the current situation for workers and investigate the best way forward for employment law.
History of the Institute of Employment Rights
Twenty Years of ProgressThe Institute of Employment Rights, respectfully known as the “Institute” to its many friends in and beyond the labour movement, was born at a challenging time.
It was conceived in 1989, following a tranche of anti union laws, introduced by three successive, Thatcher led Tory governments.
It was also a time when it was becoming evident that the official labour movement was experiencing a serious crisis of confidence and seemed no longer clear about the sort of labour law framework it wanted to protect and advance workers’ interests in a modern globalising economy.
Labour was therefore unable to adequately respond to the Thatcherite challenge.
In the face of this Tory assault and Labour uncertainties, a group of progressive labour lawyers and trade union leaders came together to set up the Institute, with the active support of leading progressive economists such as Frank Wilkinson and Labour Peers such as Lord Wedderburn.
It set itself the task of consulting widely in order to draw up, for discussion, a framework of progressive labour law to advance working peoples’ interests by challenging the unequal nature of existing workplace relations with employers.
The Institute also determined to invite experts in particular fields to indicate ways in which aspects of employment law could be reformed in a progressive direction.
From the beginning, the Institute’s Executive Committee drew widely on well established international Conventions to which the British government was a signatory but which were routinely flouted in British employment law and practice.
Tory LawsIn practical terms this ambitious strategy required the Institute to develop a critique of how the Tory laws undermined democratic rights and international law in order to weaken trade union power and collective bargaining institutions. The result of such attacks, as highlighted in successive IER publications, was that on almost every established measure of workplace rights, social provision and employment security, British workers lagged behind those in other advanced industrial countries – particularly its main European counterparts.
The Institute also set itself the task of providing an educational service. It began a publishing programme centred on relatively short, accessible pamphlets which nevertheless took in the complexities involved in determining progressive labour law principles and in overcoming the obstacles presented by judge made common law.
The publishing programme was vital in quickly establishing the Institute’s reputation as an entirely reliable and always progressive think tank, doing important work with and for the labour movement. In doing so it provided an arena for discussion and an opportunity for progressive lawyers, both academic and employment law practitioners, to develop new ideas and thinking, often drawing on international experience, and to have these published and widely distributed