Please have a think about a possible presentation to our History of IR Study Group seminars! We welcome suggestions for contributions from experienced and early-career researchers, union researchers and postgraduate students, you name it, on industrial/employment relations in their broadest historical perspectives, both domestic and international. Our seminars are friendly and supportive, with open and stimulating discussion, a great place to test out new research, as well as to re-examine earlier work.

Our first meeting was in July 2010, since when we’ve been holding around two seminars a year. Over that time, we’ve covered a wide variety of topics. One theme focuses on the history of IR in specific sectors – such as the Post Office, printing, shipbuilding and engineering, while another revisits an event or organisation in historical perspective, often pinning this on an anniversary. We examined, for instance, the Great Unrest of 1913 in 2013, the Trades Union Congress 150 years on in 2018, and one hundred years of the International Labour Organization in 2020. Contemporary history is addressed in the same way, such as the Wapping dispute at News International, the Miners’ Strike and the repercussions of the Equal Pay Act 1970. Gender has featured prominently among our themes, such as the dispute over equal pay at Ford in 1968, women and trade unions in historical context, and changing perspectives on working mothers.

We encourage international dimensions, with seminars centring on labour in late 19th century America, the impact of the German revolution in 1918 on IR, and an analysis of Salvador Allende’s Popular Unity Government in Chile 50 years on from its election in 1970.

Overall, we are interested in all forms of historical perspective – both contemporary and more long-term – on the development of industrial relations and the employment relationship across the globe in all its dimensions, legal and practical.

We greatly welcome ideas for themes and speakers so please do contact us!


Michael Gold

Linda Clarke


Annual Reports of the BUIRA History of IR Study Group

2011; 2012; 2013; 2014; 2015; 2016; 2017; 2018; 2019; 2020; 2021; 2022