Professor Ralph Darlington

Professor Ralph Darlington

Ralph Darlington is Professor of Employment Relations at Salford Business School, University of Salford. His main research is concerned with the dynamics of trade union organisation, activity and consciousness in Britain and internationally within both contemporary and historical settings. Ralph has authored, co-authored and edited six books, including The Dynamics of Workplace Unionism (1994), The Political Trajectory of J.T. Murphy (1998), Glorious Summer: Class Struggle, 1972 (2001), Syndicalism and the Transition to Communism: An International Comparative Analysis (2008), What’s the Point of Industrial Relations?: In Defence of Critical Social Science (2009), and Radical Unionism (2013). He is an executive member of the British Universities Industrial Relations Association (BUIRA), executive board member of the International Association of Strikes and Social Conflict, and secretary of the Manchester Industrial Relations Society.

The BA Cabin Crew Dispute: Why Academics ‘Take Sides’

24 March 2017

By Ralph Darlington, Professor of Employment Relations, University of Salford

When 67 industrial relations academics based in Business Schools from across the UK recently signed their name to an open letter published in The Guardian backing British Airways' (BA) cabin crew who have been taking strike action over the issue of pay, it provoked predictable objections on the basis that they were 'biased' and engaging in 'partisan' behaviour linked to the trade unions. This raises an interesting and important question – is it justifiable for industrial relations academics to 'take sides' in researching the nature of the employment relationship and in the face of industrial disputes?

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