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Labour Research Department

Address :
78 Blackfriars Road
SE1 8HF   London

United Kingdom

Contact person :
Lionel Fulton, Director
Phone: +44 20 7902 9810
Fax: +44 20 7928 0621

Short description

As stated in its constitution, “the Labour Research Department (LRD) exists to co-operate with Labour, Socialist and Co-operative movements in promoting and carrying out research into problems of importance to labour and to issue publications and otherwise make the results of research available to labour”. Founded in July 1912 as the Committee of Enquiry into the Control of Industry of the Fabian Society, it became the Fabian Research Department in 1913. In 1917 its membership was opened to trade union organisations and in 1918 it became the Labour Research Department. LRD has maintained the principles embodied in its initial statement for over 100 years, and provided its affiliates and subscribers with a wealth of information and research. Currently some 4,500 organisations and individuals are affiliated to the Labour Research Department or subscribe to its publications. The affiliates included 58 national unions, representing 97% of total TUC membership, but also over 1,000 trade union branches – local union organisations, based in a workplace or locality. The affiliates elect the Executive Committee on which the larger trade unions are almost always represented. The most important sources of income for the LRD are the sale of booklets, the affiliation fees and the commissioned research that the LRD carries out.

Areas of expertise and competencies

The LRD has a 19 experienced staff (12 of whom are researchers) who work in the following areas:

Collective bargaining – based on the on-line service pay and conditions database 'Payline', which the LRD updates and maintains, the organisation carries out specific projects, such as looking at pay and conditions in further and higher education; contact person: Lewis Emery

Health and Safety, research projects include for example: TUC survey of safety reps, Implementation of the European social partners' agreement on work-related stress, attacks on firefighters; contact person: Nerys Owen

Equality, research projects include for example: TUC Equality Audit; contact person: Clare Ruhemann

Employment Law, research projects include for example: updating the rights at work section of the TUC worksmart website; contact person: Lina Bhatt

Union Developments, research projects include for example: a survey of collective conciliation, an analysis of the state of UK unions and a survey of the workloads of NASUWT lay officials; contact person: Clare Ruhemann

Workers’ participation and EWCs, research projects include for example: employee involvement in companies under the European Company Statute, social dialogue in local and regional government for EPSU and national Industrial relations for www.worker-participation.eu website; contact person: Lionel Fulton

Other areas of expertise are: environmental concerns, corporate governance, pensions, training, directors’ pay, labour migration, and shift arrangements.

One particular strength of the LRD is the close and regular contacts it has with local union negotiators. As well as being the source for the information held on the Payline pay and conditions database, they can also be surveyed on other topics. Commissioned research projects which have made use of this resource include examinations of bargaining in the recession, the use of agency workers, collective bargaining on equality issues and employee action on the environment.

In addition to this the LRD undertakes research for trade unions and other organisations using a range of research methods. These include membership surveys for quantitative research, and interviews for quantitative studies, as well as desk research. Issues covered in last the three years have included, employee representation in Europe, European Companies, union members’ views on a proposed pay deal, background information on profitability in broadcasting and film, violence against firefighters, youth workers’ terms and conditions, young teachers’ pay and conditions, environmental cases studies, fatalities in the fire service, unions and collective bargaining in the EU Member States, the impact of restructuring on health, why members leave unions, social dialogue in local and regional government in Europe, race discrimination in the private sector, shift patterns in the fire service, apprentices, redundancy payments, climate change, a survey of the main health and safety concerns, the TUC equality audit, bargaining in the recession, a survey of environmental action by unions, the use of agency workers, migrant workers and unions in the public sector in Europe, sickness absence, an international comparison of the rules on the use of temporary workers, developments in major UK unions, a survey of the workload of lay officials, top pay in the public service, dealing with redundancies, sickness absence, transnational negotiations in Europe, using collective conciliation, evaluation of the social partners’ agreement on work-related stress, redundancies in UK local authorities and a survey of union influence on CPD in the health service.

In some cases this research is published by the unions and other organisations for whom it is carried out, while in other cases it is only used for internal purposes. LRD participates as well in European projects in the following areas: EWCs, migrant workers, CSR, companies covered by EWC directive, equal opportunities, pay benchmarking, health and safety, collective bargaining, European companies, corporate governance, employee representation, IT support and industry analysis.

Work programme, strategic plan, projects

The project 'Payline' gives union members and officials access to information on 2,400 collective agreements with large and small employers in both the public and the private sectors. In addition to information about pay settlements and pay rates, Payline has information about working hours, holidays and special leave, overtime rates, shift pay, regional allowances, maternity, paternity and other family friendly policies (flexible working, career breaks), union facilities and a range of other subjects that are useful to union negotiators on a daily basis. The LRD uses this information as the basis for its regular analysis of current pay and conditions and the information is also available to the members of the subscribing unions.

The LRD has an ongoing involvement in updating the national industrial relations pages of the www.worker-participation.eu website for the ETUI and has undertaken a number of regular projects for the TUC.

Publications, language, newsletter

Labour Research is the UK monthly magazine that provides updated information on what's happening in the unions and the world of work - from how the unions are faring under the coalition government, through the role of the courts in strikes, to new developments in bargaining. The magazine also provides regular updates on workers' legal rights and changes in employment law, as well as the information that union reps need to monitor, and take effective action on, health and safety at work. It also provides the latest information on equality matters and European Union developments. For more information, please contact the editor Ali Brown.

Workplace Report focuses on the more practical information relevant to trade unionists. It provides union reps and negotiators with relevant information they need in a comprehensive but easy-to-read monthly package. Each issue contains official statistics on earnings and prices plus pay figures from LRD's Payline database; a round-up of recent negotiated settlements; and the latest news relating to health and safety, recruitment and organising, union learning, equality issues and European pay deals. A pull-out employment case law section reports on all the significant rulings on a range of topics from the Employment Appeal Tribunal and the courts, and there are two in-depth features every month on topical workplace issues - with many drawing on surveys of LRD's workplace contacts to provide a unique insight into workplace experiences and best practice. Once a year, a supplement based on Payline, is added to the magazine. For more information, please contact the editor Neal Moister

LRD Booklets provide information on a range of trade union and labour movement concerns, with an average of 10 or 11 booklets produced each year. There are guides to issues that are permanently on the trade union agenda - such as health and safety, state benefits and sick pay - as well as rapid analysis of new developments affecting trade unionists - such as new employment laws and codes. The most popular of those booklets is the one on 'Law at Work' which is issued every year in an updated version. For more information, please contact the editor Stephanie Peck

Safety Rep includes the latest health and safety and environmental news drawn from LRD's publications together with new material, unique to Safety Rep. The bulletin is aimed at safety reps who may not currently see LRD's other publications as a tool for keeping reps up-to-date. For more information, please contact Nerys Owen

The newsletter of the LRD called 'Fact Service' is published weekly and provides a concise update on the latest developments of interest to unions. It gives full details of the latest official statistics on prices, earnings and unemployment, as they appear, as well as coverage of key economic and industrial issues as they happen. For more information, please contact the editor Neal Moister

Occasionally LRD produces one-off publications such as a Polish-language employment rights guide, Prawo w pracy - twoje uprawnienia (Law at work - know your rights).

Other networks the institute is participating in


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