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Outlook for labour law explored at Kingston Law School conference

Friday 20 May 2016

The annual conference of the Group for Employment Law and Policy in Kingston Law School brought together researchers from around the UK and beyond to explore the outlook for labour law.

GELP conference

There was a strong international flavour to this year’s conference, with presenters and delegates from Canada, Italy, Portugal, South Africa, Spain – and Scotland.  A series of presentations and discussions highlighted issues around the evolving and increasingly precarious status of workers.

Professor Michael Wynn of Kingston Law School drew attention to the need for exploration of the relationship between company law, employment law and partnership law in getting to grips with the concept of ‘employee’ in the current climate. A move towards an entrepreneurial approach expected of employees was noted as was a question of the existence of a return for the employee taking this approach.

The theme of employee shareholders was also addressed by Dr Pierre de Gioia-Carabellese, who will be joining Kingston Law School this summer. A further comparative perspective was supplied by Dr Alice Bussalaro and Antonella Sangiorgio of Ca’ Foscari University of Venice.  Dr David Mangan of City Law School supplied particular examples relating to the use of information technology and law and the recently passed Trade Union Act 2016.

GELP panel members

Professor Gwyneth Pitt of Kingston Law School highlighted movement towards greater protection for employees via implied terms in the employment contract and other common law developments were addressed by Emeritus Professor Brenda Barrett (Middlesex) and Michael Connolly (Portsmouth).

The contributions to the conference this year indicated that the outlook for labour law across common law and civil law jurisdictions is both uncertain and problematic in terms of maintenance of labour rights in times of austerity but also that actions can be taken to address this.