PhD Studentship: Employment Rights and the Shareholder: Workers Rights vs ‘Owners’ Rights

24 April 2018 Applications are invited to undertake a full time three year PhD studentship starting in October 2018. The deadline for applications is Wednesday 09 May 2018 and interviews will be held on Tuesday 15 May 2018

24 Apr 2018| News

24 April 2018

Applications are invited to undertake a full time three year PhD studentship starting in October 2018.

The deadline for applications is Wednesday 09 May 2018 and interviews will be held on Tuesday 15 May 2018

The PhD studentship is funded by the ESRC North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (NWSSDTP) and will be undertaken in collaboration between the University of Liverpool (Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology), the University of Manchester (School of Law) and The Institute of Employment Rights.

The studentship covers full-time academic fees and provides a yearly stipend (£14,553 in 2017/18).

The studentship is funded for three years and will be supervised by Professor David Whyte (University of Liverpool), Dr Aristea Koukiadaki (University of Manchester) and Carolyn Jones (Institute of Employment Rights).

The PhD Research Project:

The proposed research project explores the relationship between corporate law and labour law. The project will seek show how, both in a historical, comparative and contemporary sense, the corporate veil that shields shareholders who own shares in limited liability companies has the effect of limiting workers’ ability to realise basic labour rights.

The research will include the following areas of labour rights: equality and anti-discrimination (including rights to equal pay); industrial conflict, worker voice (including collective bargaining and worker representation at board level) and trade union rights (including the rights to organise and to strike); rights to just remuneration (including access to social protection); rights to adequate rest and leisure (including working hours, breaks and paid holidays); and the right to safe work and the freedom from forced labour (including the extent to which employment is precarious, or workers exposed to unacceptable levels of risk, danger or coercion).

In the course of the research, we expect the following three research questions will be addressed:

  1. What are the mechanisms by which the corporate veil operates to restrict labour rights?
  2. How might those mechanisms be reformed to enhance the realisation of workers’ rights in the UK?
  3. How would such reforms meet the challenges of modern forms of contemporary capitalism (characterised by: the use of long supply chains and complex ownership structures including, for instance, franchise contracts; the increasing use of precarious working and zero-hour contracts, and an emergent ‘gig’ economy).

The Candidate:

We are seeking to appoint a PhD student who has a commitment to protecting and enhancing employment rights.

It is essential that candidates will:

  • Have a First Class or Upper Second Class (2:1) or equivalent undergraduate degree in law, social science or a related discipline.
  • Have or be reasonably expected to gain a Masters degree/equivalent in a relevant academic discipline.
  • Have proficiency and competency in legal or social science methodology and methods (although specialist research training will be provided by the NWSSDTP as part of the studentship).
  • Satisfy the ESRC’s academic and residential eligibility requirements, click here.

It is desirable (though not essential) that candidates have experience of studying at least one of the following subject areas: labour law; human rights; welfare rights; industrial relations; critical management studies; sociology of work; social policy.

Applicants should be committed to collaborating with the Institute of Employment Rights on a mutually agreed basis.

How to Apply:

Applicants should detail their suitability for undertaking this CASE studentship in a letter of application (not exceeding two pages of A4, 12pt font double line spaced) that should include some reflection on how the research will be approached.

Applicants should also send a full CV, including two named referees (one of whom should be a recent academic tutor/supervisor) and a copy of their first degree/MA degree transcripts where applicable.

Those documents should be sent for the attention of Leah Linton, PGR Administrator, School of Law and Social Justice either by email or post to: University of Liverpool, Eleanor Rathbone Building, School of Law and Social Justice, Bedford Street South, Liverpool, L69 7ZA.

Interviews are expected to take place at the Institute of Employment Rights office at Jack Jones House, Liverpool on Tuesday 15 May 2018. Candidates invited for interview will be eligible to claim back reasonable travel expenses.