The end of an era: The Oxford School of IR and British Trade Unions

Change in Trade Unions by Roger Undy, Bill McCarthy, Valerie Ellis and Tony Halmos was originally published in 1981 just after the end of the strongest decade for the UK trade union movement, with membership reaching its height in 1979. It is being republished in December 2022, which provides an ideal opportunity to revisit its findings on how trade unions really operated then and what are the lessons for today’s very different industrial relations scene. It also provides a full opportunity to review the approach at that time to the study of trade unions and industrial relations by what came to be called the "Oxford School".  Two of the four authors of the 1981 book will be on the panel, together with a trade union leader from the time and a specialist in the work of the "Oxford School" of industrial relations. 


  • John Edmonds (Chair- History and Policy, Institute of Historical Research and former General Secretary, GMB)
  • Peter Ackers (Loughborough University)
  • Valerie Ellis (Formerly Assistant General Secretary, IPCS)
  • Tony Halmos (Policy Institute, King’s College, London)

Recorded on 7 March 2023 in Seante House, University of London.


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