Substance/Main tracks

As was the case for the online LLRN5 conference, we are confident that the conference will attract a diverse array of scholars and exciting scholarship on a wide range of issues. We expect to structure panels and presentations on a wide variety of topics related to the law of work, in keeping with previous LLRN conferences. We are open to any other contribution on labour law (as always, broadly conceived) on a subject that can be shown to be globally relevant. We are broadly concerned with issues concerning work and welfare embedded in political, legislative, and jurisprudential discourse. We hope to provoke conceptual re-evaluation, novel approaches and innovative policy paradigms, alongside in some instances a fresh appreciation of underlying fundamental values that have shaped labour law to date.
In this context, please note that descriptive submissions focusing on one legal system will not usually be accepted unless they appear to be of particular interest to scholars from other jurisdictions.
There is no strict category of tracks or themes to which papers must be aligned. Nonetheless, we encourage and particularly invite contributions that address the following themes, to stimulate an enriching global conversation.

We are confident that the conference will attract a diverse array of scholars and exciting scholarship on a wide range of issues. We expect to structure panels and presentations on a wide variety of topics related to the law of work, in keeping with previous LLRN conferences. LLRN5 Poland is thus open to any other contribution on labour law (as always, broadly conceived) on a subject that can be shown to be globally relevant. In this context, please note that descriptive submissions focusing on one legal system will not usually be accepted unless they appear to be of particular interest to scholars from other jurisdictions.

There is no strict category of tracks or themes to which papers must be aligned. Nonetheless, we encourage and particularly invite contributions that address the following themes, to stimulate an enriching global conversation.

PDF full version of the call for papers.

1. Labour law norms and institutions

A. Fundamental issues for labour law: norms and institutions
Under this theme, we encourage scholars to submit papers concerning both the values underlying contemporary labour law and the need for revision, invention, or re-invention of labour law institutions

It has been claimed that labour law faces an identity crisis (empirical, conceptual and normative). Work has changed considerably in light of technological advances and the transformation of capital ownership and modes of production under supply chain capitalism – without a parallel transformation in labour law and its institutions. In the light of these challenges, we welcome papers considering the theoretical foundations of labour law, whether based on ideas of dignity, equality, human rights, capabilities, or republican and other forms of democratic governance. Relevant analysis from a political economy or other social scientific perspective would also be welcome.

As changes and reforms responding to contemporary labour market developments are translated into new policy objectives and regulations, appropriate legal and institutional frameworks are of paramount importance to the realization of labour norms. In this context, we would welcome discussion of the roles and responsibilities of the different actors involved in designing, administering, delivering, and enforcing labour norms. Here the potential for new constitutional designs (a labour constitution) could be considered at national level, but also regionally and globally, as we seek to democratize work (for which see the work led by Isabelle Ferreras and others)

In particular, we welcome papers attending to overarching themes of voice and representation, with specific attention to the freedom of association as most broadly understood. Being aware of the recent focus on organising pushes in certain traditionally ‘impervious’ workplaces (such as Amazon and Uber), we would welcome discussion of the role of legal and institutional frameworks to promote workers’ representation in the workplace, as well as conflict with union busting strategies. In this context, we would also wish to consider the role of law in determining scope for collective bargaining and action as a means to pursue workers’ collective objectives. We are further interested in legal, institutional and regulatory innovation beyond the current binary framework of just employers and unions, embracing the complexities of labour relations in both the global North and the global South

We do recognize that the relevant legal frameworks may not all be classified within conventional labour law, but could include competition law, commercial law, human rights law, and other areas. Their impact on work and welfare is also of interest here. With this broader legal frame in mind, we invite papers which address institutional shifts in the design and enforcement of domestic labour laws, constitutional norms, human rights instruments, and international labour standards, whether domestically, regionally, or internationally.

B. Emerging synergies

We welcome papers on a number of emerging issues in the field of labour law, which we would seek to gather together to encourage discussion across our global network of scholars.

B.1 Labour law, inclusion and diversity

The ways in which contemporary labour market regulation leads to systematic exclusion of certain people is ripe for discussion. This stream is, in part, motivated by the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, but also the experiences (and differential treatment) of women, LGBTQ individuals, ethnic minorities, young persons, and those with disabilities during the coronavirus pandemic. The principle of social solidarity might be considered here with reference to models of equality and non-discrimination, in an attempt to construct inclusive societies. Questions of systemic discrimination and of multiple or intersectional discrimination could be explored. We would also welcome papers concerned with gender and racially segregated work, such as care work, domestic work and sex work, as well as broader issues concerning precarious work and the informal economy.

B.2 Safety and health at work

Occupational safety and health (OSH) at work is emerging as an issue of ever-increasing importance, as the pandemic has illustrated. We would welcome papers relating to the plans to give fundamental status to this principle and enhance the standing of ILO Convention No. 155 at the International Labour Conference. We are interested in analysis of OSH-related issues arising from recent experience of COVID-19, including the requirement to work from home, issues of risk assessment, the right to stop work, and collective worker representation. The continuation of changed work practices, especially the use and regulation of telework could be considered, as could the issue of reconciliation of work with family life. Debates concerning treatment of precarious work, including care work, and informal modes of employment are also likely to be relevant. We would further welcome discussion of broader issues concerning the intersection of OSH with technological and environmental change.

B.3 Labour law and just transitions

The relationship between labour law and environmental law has emerged as a crucial issue in the past few years. We are becoming increasingly aware of the ways in which the regulation of work can address pressing ecological issues, including climate change and preservation of biodiversity. The controversy over what constitutes ‘just transitions’, the crafting of legislative reform, its time scale, and the potential influence of collective worker representation in this process are all of interest to us. Impacts on working time and working environment could also be considered here. We would welcome analysis of the relevance (or otherwise) of the UN 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals to these issues including: the commitment to leave no one behind as a key sustainable development objective, the global endorsement of decent work for all, the importance of social dialogue and the confirmation of sustainable livelihoods as an overarching developmental outcome – expressed in the recent report of the ILO Global Commission on the Future of Work and the subsequent ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work (2019).

B.4 Labour law, asylum, and migration policies

In the context of urgent refugee crises sparked by war in Ukraine, the conflict in Ethiopia, and the economic crisis in Sri Lanka, we hope that this theme could spark analysis of asylum, forced migration, and work-related issues. We would also welcome discussion of migrant work more generally, including economic and social drivers and structural causes for migrant workers’ precarity in the labour market. The specific plight internationally of construction workers and domestic workers, as well as the deployment of labour through transnational work agencies would be relevant here, as is the use of bilateral and multilateral trade agreements to facilitate migration. Issues concerning the perils of temporary migration, priority entry for so-called ‘high-skilled’ over ‘low-skilled’ migrants, use of seasonal and guest-work programmes, as well as migration as a function of trade in services would all be of interest. In this context, papers could address country-of-origin (sending country) regulatory and system responses (in relation to worker welfare and social protection); recruitment of migrant workers; remittances; the diaspora; return and reintegration; as well as labour and welfare rights protection in the host state. Indeed, we would welcome papers examining labour law and social protection challenges facing a wide range of migrant workers, including (but not limited to) long-term and short-term migrant workers, posted workers, internally displaced workers, frontier workers, and also returning/returned workers. In this context it may be pertinent to consider such issues as: rights-based and gendered thinking; social contract considerations; the role of international legal regulation; and whether it is appropriate to foster developmental objectives instead of an over-reliance on humanitarian responses.

B.5 Labour law and the digital economy

The digital world of work continues to pose problems for the regulation of the labour market and the appropriate design of labour law. Here, we would be interested in papers addressing recent developments in regulating digital platform work of all varieties, and also transformations in the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The issue of who counts as a ‘worker’ for the purpose of coverage of labour law, is of clear relevance, as is scope for collective bargaining by platform workers, given concerns arising regarding competition law. Can digital work enable a more inclusive labour market? What regulatory and technological baseline is required to ensure the rights, safety, and individual collective power of digital economy workers

B.6 Work, welfare and social security

Across the globe, in legal, policy and practical terms, we are witnessing significant developments in social security law and broader social protection for workers, in both the global North and the global South. We are interested in papers that explore the symbiotic relationship between labour law and social security regulation in their historical and geographical context. We would welcome papers exploring conceptual and normative frameworks underlying social security (and broader social protection), including their shortcomings and deficiencies relating to insurance against social risk. It would be helpful to highlight any green shoots of innovation, including communal and local responses to social risk and vulnerability, as well as international mechanisms for assistance and coordination. We are interested in issues concerning the coverage of social protection and its extension (personal, material, geographical), especially the position of key vulnerable categories of workers, including informal economy workers, platform workers migrant workers, women workers, workers with disabilities, aged/retired workers. Responses of social protection systems to climate change and deterioration of the
environment could be pertinent here, as could the implications of violent conflict, economic globalization, and migration. Issues of governance, and the appropriate regulatory framework might also be examined here

B.7 Geo-politics, transition economies, and labour law

A key theme of the LLRN5 online conference was the relevance of labour law in ‘transition economies’, which seem to be shifting from central planning to free market policies, as well as reallocation of ownership from the state to the private sector. The role of labour law in facilitating such changes remains of considerable interest to us. Political responses to labour law reforms and a turn towards nationalism could also be fruitful issues for discussion and debate at LLRN6. We would further welcome papers considering the dynamics of geo-political relations between states in the global North and the global South concerning labour standards enforcement, corporate engagement in supply chains, and the role of ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ modes of international law, such as trade agreements. We recognize that the prevalence of informal labour in the global South skews labour market profiles and composition, and resultant labour law and social security challenges, which could be the subject of discussion. We are also interested in the bearing this may have on the legal and associated frameworks in relation to labour market (institutional) restructuring, un- and underemployment, skills deficiencies, employment protection and, of critical importance, social security and broader social protection dimensions.

C. Labour Law’s Methodologies

As we observed in our LLRN5 Call for Papers, methods of labour law research are becoming increasingly interdisciplinary, influenced by diverse fields, such as economy, sociology, political sciences etc. At the same time, the rapid growth in communication and information technologies has opened up new frontiers for data collection, analysis, and exchange that have the potential to revolutionize approaches to labour law work. This track encourages contributions that push the methodological boundaries by enlisting insights from other disciplines that are yet to be explored by labour law scholars. Further, we would like to explore issues relating to the ways in which labour law is taught to students at both undergraduate and post-graduate level. Concerns relating to decolonising the labour law curriculum could fruitfully be examined in this setting.

Format

LLRN6 Poland aims to maintain the diversity in formats of workshop presentation and discussion introduced at all previous LLRN conferences. To this end, although we very much encourage the submission of papers for presentation in panels/sessions, as well as proposals for full panels/sessions or book presentations, we also encourage proposals for innovative modes of participation that depart from these models of interaction. Note that each speaker can now present only one paper, although they are free to act in another panel as a chair, and a further panel as a discussant. We do not expect any attendee to be actively engaged in more than three panels in this way, so as to leave space for more engagement by others. We invite submissions as follows, noting that all proposals will be subject to peer-review by the organising committees:

PAPER ABSTRACT: Scholars interested in presenting papers at the conference are invited to submit an abstract of up to 500 words. Please include a title, your name and affiliation, contact information, and the stream in which your paper may fit. Also, include a “key words” line. There should be only one paper abstract per participant.

Single presentation form.

PANEL SESSION: Scholars are also welcome to submit proposals for full panel sessions, which include 4 papers; or 3 papers and a discussant. Please try to avoid panels in which all the participants come from the same country. Proposals for full panel sessions should include (in one document) abstracts of all presentations, which have to meet the requirements of the paper abstract submission (see requirements of PAPER ABSTRACT) and a short description (up to 100 words) of the panel, including an indication of the stream for which it is intended.

Panel session form.

BOOK PRESENTATION: Scholars who recently published a book around an important labour law issue, or who otherwise wish to raise a discussion around a recent book, are invited to propose a panel with 4 speakers (authors, discussants, or any combination thereof). Proposals for a book presentation do not require abstracts, just a short explanation of the book’s importance and brief biographies of the participants. Please note that these sessions (if accepted) might be allocated less time than regular panels/sessions.

Book presentation form.

ALTERNATIVE FORMATS: We also invite people to signal their interest in other forms of presentation and participation. Here are a number of formats that might be considered: roundtables, ‘fishbowls’ or ‘labour law labs’ in which people make short interventions addressing themes or issues from the standpoint of their research, designed to help resolve troubling labour law policy challenges; ‘TED’–style short talks on specific topics of interest, both inside and at the edges of the law of work; moderated or ‘hot seat’ encounters with an invited guest; films – plus discussion; and art exhibits and music. Presenters who wish to innovate in these or other formats need not worry that their written work will not be available or disseminated; the conference organizers will ensure that papers of presenters in alternative formats are available on the conference website.

Round table form.

Other forms of participation form.

Applications for participation should be made on the adequate form. The form should be send via llrn5poland@wpia.uni.lodz.pl or uploaded via Google Form {available soon}.