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Postgraduate Researchers’ Symposium:  Researching the Future of Work and Inequality in Uncertain Times

31 March 2020 (9.00am — 5.30pm)
Alliance Manchester Business School (AMBS), The University of Manchester, Booth Street West, Manchester M15 6PB

Keynote Speaker

  • Professor Jill Rubery (Director, Work and Equalities Institute, AMBS)

About the Event

The concerns over austerity, Brexit, the decline of collective bargaining and the pace of technological change have fed into growing uncertainties about the future of work and the inequalities that may arise from such concerns. Whilst these issues are widely discussed in academic realms, there is little engagement between academics, policymakers and practitioners, which is necessary to address these uncertainties in their wider context. In four panel sessions, this daylong PGR event will address each of these critical areas of uncertainty and drawing upon academics’, practitioners’ and policymakers’ expertise to help PGRs understand the practicalities of these challenges and to develop the ability to conduct impactful research in these areas. The event focuses particularly on the North of England, since such uncertainties are seen to manifest in this region in a unique way.

  • Panel session 1: The Impact of Austerity
    In this session, Dr Mathew Johnson (AMBS), Professor Donna Hall CBE (Ex-CEO Wigan Council) and Cllr Graham Whitham (GMPA) will discuss the lingering impacts of austerity cuts on the north.

  • Panel session 2: Uncertainties caused by Brexit
    Prof Carol Atkinson (MMU), policy maker ( TBC ) and Mark Cunningham (CEO Federation of Jewish Services) talk about the Brexit effects on the health and social care sectors, discussing issues of staffing and recruitment in an already overburdened and underfunded sector.

  • Panel session 3: Pace of Technological Change
    Professor Debra Howcroft (AMBS), Tim Sharp (TUC) and Natalie Jameson (Women in tech) take a critical perspective to discuss the issues around rapid technological changes and its implications for uncertainties surrounding the future of work and equalities.

  • Panel session 4: The Decline in Collective Bargaining
    Dr Stephen Mustchin (AMBS), John Wrathmell (GMCA) and Martyn Moss (UCU) discuss the growing uncertainties surrounding the decline in collective bargaining, the challenges this poses to employment, and attempts to overcome these. The case of the UCU action in higher education and the development of the Greater Manchester Employment charter will be discussed as cases.


8:50-9:20 Registration (Atrium, Alliance Manchester Business School)

9:20-9:30 Keynote: Professor Jill Rubery (Director, Work and Equalities Institute)

9:30-11:00 Session 1: The impact of Austerity

11:00-11:15 Coffee Break (Penthouse, Alliance Manchester Business School)

11:15-12:45 Session 2: Uncertainties caused by Brexit

12:45-13:30 Lunch (Penthouse, Alliance Manchester Business School)

13:30-15:00 Session 3: Pace of technological change

15:00-15:15 Coffee Break (Penthouse, Alliance Manchester Business School)

15:15-16:45 Session 4: The decline in collective bargaining

16:45-18:00 Drinks reception (Penthouse, Alliance Manchester Business School)


  • BSA members:  £5
  • Non-members: £15

Registration includes lunch, refreshments and drinks reception.  If you have any questions about the event please contact the organisers.