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Current projects

Labour Market Realities

Labour Market Realities is the Centre for Labour and Social Studies’ (CLASS) new annual publication on the UK labour market. It places workers at the front and centre of the debate on the economy, providing on-the-ground intelligence and capturing the lived realities of the economy. By polling 2,000 workers across the country and speaking to a variety of officers and representatives from the trade union movement, this project exposes the myth of an economy that is delivering record employment and sustained growth. Moving forward, it offers a new direction in our understanding of, and answers to, growing economic challenges.

Making Brexit Work for Working People

The UK voted to leave the EU 18 months ago, but it’s still no clearer what a post-Brexit UK will look like. While the government claim to have ruled out membership of the customs union and single market, and confirmed the end of freedom of movement, there is still great uncertainty. Will the government replace the regional funding mechanisms managed by the EU? How can we protect and improve jobs and wages outside of the single market?

Following on from our pre-referendum paper, ‘Does the EU work for working class people?’, CLASS have asked key figures from across the labour movement and academia about how we can ensure Brexit works for working people. 

A Progressive Post-Brexit Trade Agenda

'Trade' has been a constant buzzword since the EU referendum result. Post-Brexit we’ll be making our own trade deals for the first time in 40 years, and we’ve heard some ambitious plans put forward from the government. But what do modern trade deals actually contain? Are they always a good thing for working people? How can they impact public services, jobs and rights at work? Can we use a trade deal to reduce inequality? To answer these questions and more, CLASS is working with academics and trade experts from the Trade Justice Movement, Global Justice Now and War on Want to put together a forward thinking plan for a progressive trade agenda.

You can read our first publication – a back to basics guide exploring the dangers of modern trade deals and setting out what our priorities should be for a progressive trade policy – here.

Race and Class

In recent times, a great amount of media and policy attention has been focussed on the idea of the 'white working class'. CLASS believes this label is divisive and that it ignores the experiences of ethnic minority working class people, whose economic circumstances and voice have been similarly ignored by policymakers for decades. Lack of access to jobs and opportunities binds poor white and BME (black and minority ethnic) people together, while the white working and white middle classes are culturally further apart. 

In March 2017, CLASS joined forces with Runnymede to publish 'Minority Report: Race and Class in post-Brexit Britain'. Following on from this, the Race and Class project develops the demand to recognise the shared experiences of ethnic minorities and the white working class in the UK, and aims to challenge dominant political narratives around this important intersection.

Automation Task Force

Over the course of history, technological progress has brought us more jobs, higher pay and a better standard of living. There is now growing evidence, however, that developments in automation and artificial intelligence will serve to reinforce existing inequalities in our society, be they regional, socioeconomic or otherwise. In response, CLASS is bringing together a ‘task force’ on automation, with the aim of developing a set of concrete policy proposals that work to make sure technological progress benefits everybody. By consulting a variety of experts in key policy areas, we hope to contribute practical solutions to one of the most important debates about our society’s future.