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Industrial Relations Research Unit

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A leading European centre for research and analysis on the employment relationship

Our work combines long-term fundamental research and short-term commissioned projects. In both we maintain the independence and integrity of approach which have been the hallmark of IRRU since its establishment in 1970. The Director of IRRU is Professor Guglielmo Meardi.

We aim to advance understanding of the rapidly changing world of employment through in-depth, critical and theoretically-informed empirical research. In so doing, we also seek to improve the quality of data and analysis available for policy-making by government, employers and trade unions.


The three main themes of IRRU’s research has been reframed as three streams, to bring them more in line with the teaching and research activity of the Organisation and Human Resource Management (OHRM) teaching group, whose composition largely overlaps with that of IRRU.

  1. Employment relations strategy: this stream focuses on the implications of managerial and employee representatives’ strategies for organisational performance and equality, and on how environmental, institutional and governance factors shape organisations’ employment relations. This includes, through the insights of pluralist and critical industrial relations perspectives, HRM strategy, mechanisms of employee voice, union (and other stakeholder) strategies, and systems of collective bargaining.

  2. Social responsibility, equality and diversity: this stream focuses on issues concerning equality, diversity, careers and work-life balance, exploring: how organisations manage workforce career aspirations and work-family conflict; how typically-disadvantaged groups (such as women, ethnic minorities, disabled people and older workers) are affected by different organisational approaches to equality, and react to them; and the link between employment relations and inequality.

  3. Multi-level governance in a global context: This stream focuses on both employment relations in the EU and also the multi-level governance of employment in a global context, including international soft law, international and regional organisations, national regulations and sub-national systems. It combines the study of public and private actors, and focuses in particular on: the dissemination of HRM practices in multinational companies; the setting of global labour standards; international co-ordination of collective bargaining and employment policies; and cross-country phenomena such as migration and international restructuring.

View forthcoming IRRU seminars and events.


Research Coordinator
Warwick Business School
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL

irruoffice at wbs dot ac dot uk
t: +44 (0)24 7652 4268

Further details about IRRU’s current research are available in our most recent Annual Update

Call for Papers - Special Issue of Economic and Industrial Democracy

"Trade Unions and Democracy: In Memory of Giulio Regeni, 15.1.1988-n.d.2016"

Further details available here

Eurofound Publication of the month
April 2017
Social mobility in the EU
February 2017
Working anytime, anywhere: The effects on the world of work
January 2017
Changing places: Mid-career review and internal mobility
December 2016
The concept of representativeness at national, international and European level
November 2016
Exploring the fraudulent contracting of work in the European Union
September 2016
Mapping key dimensions of industrial relations
August 2016
Inadequate housing in Europe: Costs and consequences
July 2016
Exploring the diversity of NEETs
June 2016
Eurofound yearbook 2015: Living and working in Europe
May 2016
Regulation of labour market intermediaries and the role of social partners in preventing trafficking of labour

Recent Articles
European Observatory of Working Life - EurWork
16 March 2017
Prisons officers protest over staff shortages and safety concerns
 25 January 2017
Government launches consultation on worker representatives on company boards
Latest working life developments in the UK
17 August 2016
Blacklisted construction workers win compensation
2 August 2016
Employer and union reaction to ‘Brexit’ referendum result
20 May 2016
Tighter statutory regulation of trade union activities approved by Parliament  
25 January 2016
Digitalisation and working life: lessons from the Uber cases around Europe