With Prof Roger Seifert, Prof of Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations, University of Wolverhampton
Roger read Politics Philosophy and Economics at Oxford University,
then took a MBA from London Business School, and a PhD at London School of
Economics. He was professor of industrial relations at Keele University from
1993-2008, and has held the same post at the University of Wolverhampton
since 2008. He researches and publishes on issues concerning trade unionism,
state sector, role of the state, strikes, and his current work focusses on the
emergency services. He acts as a consultant to large companies and trade
unions, and is frequently interviewed on TV and radio about industrial
The nature of work, and the pattern of employment, changes under pressure
from new technologies, management practices, company ownership profiles,
markets, and government policies. As such, the power imbalance between
employees and employers remains but is subject to different sets of pressures.
Strong unions can push back on this “frontier of control” and push up wages,
but in non-unionised employment skills can be degraded, rights reduced, pay
and conditions worsened, and management’s prerogative all embracing.
Government’s regulation to protect workers in those circumstances can be
weak, partial, and lack enforcement. The future holds more of the same, and
the debate as between the usefulness of individual as opposed to collective
worker rights, the role of government, and the ceaseless pressure to exploit,
will continue to dominate both the industrial and political wings of the
labour movement. Quo vadis?