History of ILERA (IIRA)

"The main purpose of the IIRA is to promote the study of industrial relations through research and teaching"

Roberts (1973) Presidential address to the 3rd IIRAWorld Congress

Since the dawning of the industrial revolution the discussion and dialogue surrounding the field of industrial relations has grown increasingly more important. In the globalised and interconnected world in which we now live, where decisions can take effect many miles from the boardroom in which they are conceived, an effective environment for industrial relations to take place is paramount.

In the decades emerging from the Second World War there was a clear need for an international network for those involved in the field of industrial relations. The International Industrial Relations Association’s (IIRA) founding in 1966 was a pivotal milestone in addressing this issue. The Association did not come about of its own accord however and help was provided through joint efforts from the British Universities Industrial Relations Association (BUIRA), the Industrial Relations Research Association (IRRA, now the LERA), the Japanese Institute of Labour (JIL) and the International Institute for Labour Studies (IILS). Its founding principles and willingness to effectively address differing industrial relations contexts in different areas are highlighted both by its constitution and its deliberate omission of a definition of ‘industrial relations’, pointing towards a much needed multidisciplinary approach.

It did not take long for the newly formed IIRA, with its headquarters at the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva, Switzerland, to evolve. Within a short while of its inception the Association built up an interdisciplinary membership network of academics and institutions with no limitations regarding nationality, political philosophy or ideology and as more and more countries were represented by IIRA members the Association proved increasingly influential and strategic for nurturing the industrial relations around the globe. The association also broadened the scope of subject matters to issues such as the transnational movement of labour, non-standard work, labour market regulation and trade and labour standards, and discrimination in employment, that followed with a change in the name of the association in 2010 to International Labour and Employment Relations, ILERA.

The relationship between the ILERA and the ILO continues to provide the Association with a unique opening, allowing it to contribute significantly towards promoting industrial relations, both in countries where there were previously no organisations directed towards its facilitation and countries where a distinct legacy of industrial relations exists. The regular ILERA World Congresses further facilitate these large strides taken by the Association, highlight the wealth of valuable information available and act to further cement industrial relations as a field for in-depth academic study capable of tackling important issues surrounding employment.

Now, after almost 50 years from the initiation of the ILERA, the Association provides an exemplary forum for the discussion and dissemination of ideas surrounding industrial relations. The ILERA has progressed from strength to strength and continues to encourage the scientific study of industrial relations at many levels and academic disciplines to provide a monumental contribution to nurturing the environment of industrial relations around the world.

If you wish to read more about the history of industrial relations, the ILO and the ILERA, we recommend that you read "The Global Evolution of Industrial Relations by Bruce Kaufman". Write to ilera@ilo.org to obtain a copy at a reduced price for ILERA members.

Past officers:


Prof. Evance Kalula (2012 - 2015), South Africa
Prof. Janice Bellace (2009-2012), USA
Prof. Russel Lansbury (2006-2009), Australia
Prof. Luis Aparicio Valdez (2003-2006), Peru
Prof. Manfred Weiss (2000-2003), Germany
Prof. Tadashi Hanami (1998-2000), Japan
Prof. Tiziano Treu (1995-1998), Italy
Prof. Thomas A. Kochan (1992-1995), USA
Prof. John Niland (1989-1992), Australia
Prof. Roger Blanpain (1986-1989), Belgium
Prof. Friedrich Fürstenberg (1983-1986), Germany
Prof. Mikio Sumiya (1982-1983), Japan
Prof. Ichiro Nakayama (1979-1982), Japan
Prof. Jean-Daniel Reynaud (1976-1979), France
Prof. John T. Dunlop (1973-1976), USA
Prof. Ben C. Roberts (1967-1973), United Kingdom

5 ILERA Presidents

Past Secretaries:

Prof. Tayo Fashoyin (2007-2009)
Mr. Guiseppe Casale (2006-2007)
Prof. Tayo Fashoyin (2000-2006)
Ms. Hông-Trang Perret-Nguyêñ (1998-2000)
Mr. William Simpson (1992-1998)
Dr. Alan Gladstone (1985-1992)
Dr. Alfred Pankert (1983-1984)
Dr. Enfrén Córdova (1979-1983)
Prof. Ben C. Roberts (1976-1979)
Prof. Kenneth Walker (1970-1976)
Prof. Robert Cox (1967-1970)