Annual Report of BUIRA History of Industrial Relations Study Group



The BUIRA History of IR Study Group held two meetings this year, both at the University of Westminster.


Our principal event, which was jointly sponsored by BUIRA, Britain at Work and the Oral History Society, was our annual Oral Labour History Day held at the University of Westminster on Saturday 2 June 2018, from 10.30 to 17.00. About 35 people attended throughout the day. This year we focused on “Making Use of Oral Labour History”. The day included round table introductions on the projects in which participants were involved, and their interest in oral labour history.

Following a welcome and introduction by Linda Clarke and Michael Gold, the keynote talk was given by Rob Perks (Lead Curator, Oral History and Director of National Life Stories at the British Library) on How can I future-proof my oral history project? Guidance on best archival and legal practice for preservation and public access and reuse.


Following the round table and after lunch, there were two further sessions. The first, entitled Diverse uses of oral history, included talks on Local collections (Martin Astell, Senior Archivist Sound and Video, Essex Record Office) who spoke on Oral history collections at the county record office – and how to set them free; on Film (Alex Gordon/Chris Reeves, RMT History Project); and on Books (Sally Groves, author of Trico: A Victory to Remember).


Following a break, the second session, entitled More diverse uses, included talks on Educational websites and books (Sundari Anitha, Striking Women) and Pop-up Museums (Padmini Broomfield, Ford Transition, Southampton).


The day concluded with a full discussion. Sessions throughout were chaired variously by Joanna Bornat, Linda Clarke, John Gabriel and Michael Gold.




Our second seminar focused on Deindustrialisation and Industrial Relations in Scotland: 1960s until Today (7 June 2018) at the University of Westminster.

Jim Phillips (Senior Lecturer in Economic and Social History at the University of Glasgow) opened with a paper co-written with Jim Tomlinson and Valerie Wright on Deindustrialisation, Ownership and Industrial Relations, c. 1963-1993: Evidence from Linwood Car Manufacturing and Timex Dundee, followed by Jenny O’Neil (Lecturer in Labour Relations and Global HRM at Edinburgh Napier University) and Vaughan Ellis (Lecturer in Work and Industrial Relations, also at Edinburgh Napier) on Unheard Voices of Decline: Scottish Oil Sector. There were ten participants, and an excellent discussion, not least because participant had himself worked at Linwood in the early 1970s.




For next academic year (2018/19), we already have three seminars planned, with dates set but full details to follow:


150th Anniversary of the TUC: the Contribution of Walter Citrine. Tuesday 9 October 2018, with Jonathon Davis (Anglia Ruskin University) and Jim Moher (freelance historian).


The German revolution in 1918 and its impact on industrial relations. Wednesday 7 November 2018, with Ralf Hoffrogge (Ruhr-Universität, Bochum, Germany) and James Muldoon (Exeter).


Women and the trade union movement. Wednesday 13 March 2019, with Nicole Busby and Rebecca Zahn (both University of Strathclyde).


Please keep these dates free in your diary!



Michael Gold

Linda Clarke

08 June 2018