European Working Group on Labour Law

The European Working Group on Labour Law (EWL) is a scientific research network which includes the Law Departments of the Universities of Utrecht, Strasbourg, Naples, Leicester, Castilla-La Mancha, Frankfurt (Oder) and Poznan. Its members focus on researching and teaching labour law at national, European and international level.

The EWL organises an annual conference for the training and development of graduate students. First, four students from each participating university present their written report on national law on the annual theme of the conference. The students are then divided into four groups comprising one representative of each participating university. Each group is given a comparative research question to explore culminating in a group presentation on the final day of the conference.

In recent years, the annual conference has concerned the themes of Collective Bargaining (Utrecht, 2015), Working Time (Strasbourg 2016), Privacy and Data Protection in the workplace (Frankfurt (Oder) 2017), Dismissal for non economic reasons (Ciudad Real, Spain), Worker representation in Undertakings (Poznan 2020).

In March 2021, the event was hosted virtually by Leicester Law School on the theme of Transparent and Predictable Working conditions, in light of the 2019 European Directive on the same topic.  Students considered issues such as status and working conditions of gig economy workers and zero hour contracts. The Leicester team was composed of Simone Dowsing, Christie John, Hanah Jeena (undergraduates) and Dan Holland (postgraduate student in employment law). The student team prepared a report on the issues raised by the EU Directive (pdf, 550KB).

Participants at the European Working Group on Labour Law  conference, March 2021

In addition to the annual conference for students, members of the network meet regularly to pursue research projects in the field of European Labour Law. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the EWL a collection of essays has been published: E Ales, T Jaspers, P Lorber, C Sachs-Durand, U Wendeling-Schröder (eds), Fundamental Social Rights in Europe: Challenges and Opportunities (Antwerp: Intersentia 2009). The group also published the results of a research project lead by Professor Edoardo Ales (Università di Cassino), Health and Safety at Work, European and Comparative Perspectives (Kluwer, 2013). Some members of the EWL have worked on a project considering collective labour law in Europe in a comparative perspective and are currently examining a potential project on the European Social Pillar.

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