Workplace Dispute Resolution in the 21st Century

Eleanor Kirk
Nicole Busby


The nature and contours of work are changing rapidly: it is performed under an increasing variety of arrangements by workers who have diverse needs and who require different types of protection. The relevance of the contract of employment as a means of establishing and regulating terms and conditions is in decline and the traditional model underpinning employment protection legislation is no longer reflective of the diversity of working arrangements that exist. In the UK context, changes to the legal framework have presented barriers to access to justice for those workers most in need of protection through initiatives such as the introduction of fees for claimants to the Employment Tribunal.

Against this unsettled backdrop this theme will explore contemporary workplace dispute resolution. ‘Resolution’ is defined in its broadest sense to include formal legal processes, alternative methods such as arbitration and conciliation and informal methods, for example through the collective involvement of trade unions and other forms of worker representation, as well as the equally important issues surrounding non-resolution. Work which identifies and explores the individual factors and socio-economic and political drivers which influence decision-making will be of particular interest.

Papers could explore, for example:

  • The nature and emergence of disputes themselves
  • The impact of routes to resolution on particular categories or cohorts of workers, for example migrant workers, older workers or those with disabilities.
  • The nature and effects of procedural barriers to resolution
  • The impact of recent changes to the Employment Tribunal system on workplace conflict more generally

We would particularly welcome contributions that provide an inter-disciplinary perspective. Although the focus will be primarily on the UK system of workplace dispute resolution, papers which explore alternative jurisdictional approaches or international perspectives will also be considered.

Abstracts may only be submitted via the Easy Chair Platform. They must be no longer than 300 words and should include your title, name and institutional affiliation and your email address for correspondence.

The deadline for submissions is Monday 18th January 2016.