I am currently writing a monograph entitled New Labour Laws in Old Member States: A comparative analysis of trade union responses to European enlargement which has been accepted for publication in Cambridge Studies in European Law and Policy (Cambridge University Press). One reviewer described it as “an excellent proposal on a topical matter of significant importance for European society.” The monograph develops ideas that I first worked on in my PhD but has a much broader scope and deeper level of analysis than the thesis. I am also carrying out in-depth empirical work on trade unions in five countries. The book undertakes a contextualised comparison of the responses of Austrian, German, Irish, Swedish and British trade unions to the challenges posed by the recent European enlargements in the form of the migration of new Member State workers by examining the relationship between trade unions and labour law at a national and European level. It uses an innovative comparative method to elaborate ways in which trade unions could better respond to increased migration following the recent European enlargements so as to secure their continued relevance within the labour law system and provides an understanding of the legal context which shapes the responses of trade unions to the European enlargements and the new Member State workers. On the basis of a thorough analysis, the book recommends ways in which trade unions in the five Member States could learn from each other in order to facilitate the integration of migrants into the host labour markets, and outlines the legal reforms necessary at a national and European level to assist trade unions in coping with the challenges of European enlargement. The expected date of completion of the monograph is 1st September 2015. The fieldwork for this monograph is being funded in 2013 by a British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant.
In addition, I am working on a paper which provides a new perspective on the history of co-determination – worker participation in management – in the UK and Germany by examining primary and secondary sources in a comparative manner. In doing so, this research seeks to do two things: first, it sheds new light on why co-determination was introduced in its current form in Germany but not in the UK; and, second, it asks whether the failure to institute a system of worker participation in management in the UK should be considered a missed opportunity.By comparing the debates that took place between 1945 and 1949 on the nationalisation of the iron and steel industries and possible worker involvement in the management of these industries, this research project sheds light on why co-determination was introduced in Germany but not the UK. In doing so, it concludes by questioning whether the failure to institute a system of co-determination in the UK, when public support would have carried such an innovation, should be considered a missed opportunity for British trade unions. The collection of material for this paper in the German and British National Archives is being funded in 2013/14 by the Society of Legal Scholars Research Activities Fund.
I am also developing a project entitled ‘The Future Regulation of Work: New Concepts, New Paradigms’ together with Professor Nicole Busby (University of Strathclyde) and Professor Douglas Brodie (University of Stirling). We have been awarded funding to hold the Society of Legal Scholars Seminar Series 2014 at the Universities of Strathclyde and Stirling where we will bring together leading international scholars working on developed and developing countries to reconsider the future regulation of work and the appropriateness of labour law to that end. We have developed a proposal for an edited collection involving the key participants in the seminar which has been submitted to the socio-legal series published by Palgrave Macmillan.