Dr Fernando Duran-Palma, BSc (PUC), MSc (LSE) PhD (Loughborough), is full-time Senior Lecturer in Human Resource Management.
Fernando holds a Licentiate in Psychology (Industrial/Organisational) and the Professional Degree of Psychologist from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, a MSc in Industrial Relations from the London School of Economics, and a PhD in Employment Relations from Loughborough University.
Fernando is a member of the British Universities Industrial Relations Association (BUIRA), the Society for Latin American Studies (SLAS), and the International Labour and Employment Relations Association (ILERA).
Fernando's research interests include comparative industrial relations, atypical and precarious employment, workers' collective action and organisation, union strategy, and workers and climate change. He welcomes applications from prospective doctoral researchers in these areas.
Fernando is currently involved in the following research projects.
Varieties of Collective Action and Organisation by Atypical and Precarious Workers in Latin America
This is a one-year project (2017-2018) directed by Dr Fernando Duran-Palma and funded by the University of Westminster's Strategic Research Investment Fund (Phase 4 Excellence with Impact 2017/18).
The breakdown of the standard employment relationship, the expansion of precarious employment, the significant increase in inequality, and the resulting widening gulf between ‘good’ (traditional) and ‘bad’ (precarious) jobs characterised by insecurity, vulnerability, and uncertainty, are some of the main common trends that characterise today’s world of work in developed and developing countries as well as across a wide spectrum of economic sectors and occupational types. The wide-ranging impact of these transformations has been exacerbated by the general decline of trade union power and influence and the widespread perception of precarious workers as too weak and vulnerable to even contemplate organising. Most precarious workers thus find themselves without access to independent union representation when they need it the most. However, atypical and precarious workers across the world have developed new and successful forms of collective action and organisation, demonstrating that they are far from weak and unorganisable. Unfortunately, these experiences have too often been ignored and, as a result, the literature has failed to take into account their transformative potential not only for improving the material circumstances of these workers but also to advancing the delivery of quality jobs along with social protection to achieve sustainable, inclusive economic growth, and reduce poverty and inequality.
The project aims to address the issues of in what ways, why, and how far, precarious workers are effectively confronting their vulnerable, insecure, and unequal worlds of work. More concretely, the project focuses on analysing and explaining similarities and differences among new forms of collective action and organisation in Chile, Argentina, and Peru.
In addition, the project aims to develop the foundations for a Global Research Network on Collective Action and Organisation by Atypical and Precarious Workers led by the University of Westminster. The network builds on research partnerships with academics from institutions that initially include: Universidad Nacional de la Plata (Argentina), Universidad Alberto Hurtado (Chile), Universidad de Chile (Chile), and Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET, Argentina).
The project also forms part of the research programme of the Centre for the Study of the Production of the Built Environment (ProBE), and is intended to complement, in particular, its current Canadian-sponsored ACW research project on climate change and work.
Inclusive Vocational Education and Training for Low Energy Construction
Inclusive Vocational Education and Training for Low Energy Construction (VET4LEC) is a two-year project (2017-2018) supported by the European Commission (VS/2016/0404) and coordinated by the European construction social partners: the European Construction Industry Federation (FIEC) and the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW).
The construction sector has a particular responsibility for a just transition to a low carbon society and for meeting the European Union (EU) greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of ‘at least 40% by 2030’ given that an estimated 40% of end-use CO2 emissions are attributable to buildings. The EU Build Up skills programme, addressing VET requirements for LEC, has highlighted insufficient coordination between occupations and inadequate VET as barriers to increasing energy efficiency in the built environment. It is the task of this project to identify some of the changes required and problems involved in enacting these at site level.
Project partners are from trade unions and employer associations in a number of European countries (Belgium, Bulgaria, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, and possibly France and Germany). The University of Westminster team of external experts appointed for the project (Professor Linda Clarke, Dr Colin Gleeson, Dr Melahat Sahin-Dikmen, and Dr Fernando Duran-Palma plus, as an advisory member, Professor Christopher Winch from Kings College London) has extensive research experience in the fields of vocational education and training (VET), low energy construction (LEC) and construction labour across Europe.