Professor Miguel Martinez Lucio and Dr. Stefania Marino at the Work and Equalities Institute (WEI) have been awarded a major grant looking at how equality policies and regulation at work have developed across different European countries.
The three-year £566,000 project, entitled The Politics of Equality: The Evolving Nature of Equality Agendas at Work in the UK and Europe in a Context of Political Uncertainty, is financed by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The project also involves partners at the Grenoble Ecole de Management including Dr Heather Connolly who has worked with Miguel and Stefania over many years.
The central aim of the project is to contrast the experiences and issues related to equality at work in terms of policy and regulation within the UK with other countries within Europe which have made an explicit and concerted effort to engage with a more progressive and inclusive approach to equality since the 1970s.
Informed policy advice
Specifically the project will look at the UK in comparison with France, the Netherlands and Spain, countries that are seen as having engaged - albeit in different ways - with expanding equality at work for a diverse range of workers across different dimensions. The project will also involve meetings with EU organisations.
Dr Marino, Senior Lecturer in Employment Studies at Alliance MBS, said: “The research builds further on the tradition of comparative international research developed within the WEI as an approach to better understand social phenomena and build informed policy advice.
“This project is therefore relevant not only for the specific issues it will consider in terms of equality, but also because it provides an opportunity to explore how national contexts measure against, reflect on, learn from, and share with other national contexts experiences and policies in relation to such employment issues, in a period in which these opportunities are unfortunately being questioned.”
Miguel Martinez Lucio, Professor of International HRM and Comparative Industrial Relations at Alliance MBS, said the project had come out of a series of books, articles and projects that they had authored which have looked at how equality policies at work have developed, and what role employment regulation and policy has played.
He said the research study was particularly timely given the heightened awareness of gender and race issues in both the workplace and wider society.
“In recent years we have seen increased debate around the language and politics of equality, and in some contexts the enforcement of equality legislation is proving to be challenging. One of the key aims of this project will be to outline the main challenges that have arisen due to a range of political, economic, and social factors, and to identify how these are influencing the nature of equality strategies and the substantial progress that has been made.
“It will look at how countries sustain the dynamic of enhancing equality of work while dealing with these new types of tensions, and what this actually means for relationships in the workplace, trade unions, and HR managers, amongst others.”