Co-Lead, Research Theme 4: Reconnecting the Disconnected: New Channels of Voice and Representation
Leeds University Business School
+44 (0)113 343 2615
  • Awarded PhD (“Managerial and mobilizing internationalism among British trade unions”) in 2012, from the University of Leeds.
  • Worker as Lecturer/Senior Lecturer at the University of Greenwich, September 2011-December 2014
  • Joined as a Lecturer then Associate Professor in the Work and Employment Relations Division at Leeds University Business School January 2015.
Research interests
  • The creation and intensification of market competition and its effects on working conditions, particular as driven by digital technologies
  • Marxist thought, particularly regarding state and class
  • Work in the cultural/creative industries

Recent Publications

Policy publications

A global analysis of worker protest in digital labour platforms

Bessa, I., Joyce, S., Neumann, D., Stuart, M., Trappmann, V. and Umney, C. (2022) International Labour Organization

Journal articles

Why isn’t there an Uber for live music? The digitalisation of intermediaries and the limits of the platform economy

Azzellini, D., Greer, I., Umney, C. (2021) New Technology, Work and Employment

Other publications

Research articles

Umney, C. (2019). Creative placemaking and the cultural projectariat: artistic work in the wake of Hull City of Culture 2017. Capital and Class (forthcoming)

Greer, I., Samaluk, B., & Umney, C. (2018). Toward a precarious projectariat? Project dynamics in Slovenian and French social services. Organization Studies (online first format)

Alberti, G., Bessa, I., Hardy, K., Trappmann, V., & Umney, C. (2018). In, against and beyond precarity: work in insecure times. Work, Employment and Society, 32(3), 447-457

Umney, C., Greer, I., Onaran, Ö., & Symon, G. (2018). The state and class discipline: European labour market policy after the financial crisis. Capital & Class, 42(2), 333-351.

Umney, C., & Coderre‐LaPalme, G. (2017). Blocked and New Frontiers for Trade Unions: Contesting ‘the Meaning of Work’in the Creative and Caring Sectors. British Journal of Industrial Relations, 55(4), 859-878.

Umney, C. (2017). Moral economy, intermediaries and intensified competition in the labour market for function musicians. Work, employment and society, 31(5), 834-850.

Umney, C. (2016). The labour market for jazz musicians in Paris and London: Formal regulation and informal norms. Human Relations, 69(3), 711-729.

Umney, C., & Kretsos, L. (2015). “That’s the Experience” Passion, Work Precarity, and Life Transitions Among London Jazz Musicians. Work and Occupations, 42(3), 313-334.

Umney, C., & Kretsos, L. (2014). Creative labour and collective interaction: the working lives of young jazz musicians in London. Work, employment and society, 28(4), 571-588.

Umney, C. (2012). Managerial and mobilizing internationalism in the British docks and seafaring sector. European Journal of Industrial Relations, 18(1), 71-87.


Umney, C. (2018). Class Matters Inequality and Exploitation in 21st Century Britain. Pluto Press (UK).

Working papers

Azzellini, Dario, Ian Greer, and Charles Umney. “Limits of the platform economy: digitalization and marketization in live music.” Hans Boeckler Foundation working paper No. 154


Forde, C., Stuart, M., Joyce, S., Oliver, L., Valizade, D., Alberti, G., … & Carson, C. (2017). The social protection of workers in the platform economy. European Parliament Think Tank, 128.

Digit researchers’ findings on labour protests during the pandemic published by ILO

25 November 2022

The report documents protests by key workers in healthcare and retail against their working conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Digit researchers at the SASE 2022 conference

26 July 2022

Digit researchers discussed their work at the SASE cofnerence, 9-11 July 2022 in Amsterdam.

Researchers present at BUIRA conference 2022

30 June 2022

Digit researchers discuss their work at the BUIRA Annual Conference

New ILO paper by Digit researchers on platform labour protest

28 June 2022

A new paper by Digit researchers, published by the International Labour Organization, "A global analysis of worker protest in digital labour platforms", aims to develop an understanding of labour unrest among platform workers as a global phenomenon.

Digit researchers present at 40th International Labour Process Conference

26 April 2022

There were more than 15 presentations involving members of the Digit community at the 40th ILPC in Padua.

Digit researchers deliver plenary talk on global labour unrest on platforms, using the case of food delivery workers

2 December 2020

 Digit Co-Director Professor Mark Stuart and Dr. Vera Trappman from Leeds University Business School will deliver a plenary talk on global labour unrest on platforms, using the case of food delivery workers, at the ILERA Regional Congress, Philippines, tomorrow, 03 December 2020.   You can read the abstract from their session below: Labour unrest by platform workers is an important phenomenon in the new world of work. This study examines patterns of platform labour unrest on a global scale, drawing from a database of over 500 instances of labour unrest in the food delivery sector. Results show that labour unrest […]

ETUI Policy Brief

5 March 2020

This policy brief sets out the first findings of the Leeds Index on worker protest in the platform economy.

Invited guest speaker roles

‘Class, classification and the dialectics of precarity’. Invited speaker at Bristol University Management Seminar, 19th November 2019

‘Class and classification’. Opening plenary address; Association Française de Sociologie Congress 2019, Aix-en-Provence, 27th August 2019

‘Why class matters’: guest speaker in Left Book Club reading group, Common Place, London 25th June 2019

‘Class, austerity and precarity’. Invited speaker at Sheffield Institute for Policy Studies symposium, Sheffield Hallam University, 17th April 2019

‘Class theory and precarious work’. Research seminar series at Southampton Solent University, 4th June 2019

‘Eliane Glaser and Charles Umney in conversation’: event at Faversham Literary Festival, 23rd February 2019

Guest speaker at political education event, Sedgefield Constituency Labour Party, 25th January 2019

‘Charles Umney discusses “Class Matters”’, 6th December 2018, Red Haus Books, Sheffield

‘Precarious work: the class dimension’. Main speaker at Kevin McMahon Memorial Lecture, 6th November 2018, Liberty Hall Theatre, Dublin

‘Jazz and the city’. invited panellist at London Jazz Festival ‘Talks’ programme, 11th November 2016, The Barbican, London

‘Critical capacities: Media workers, labour and action’; invited panellist in CAMEo conference session on ‘Organizing and activism’; Curve theatre, Leicester, 26th July 2016

Planned Research

Policy briefing paper for ETUI on the “Leeds Online Labour Protest Map”

“Limits to platformization in live music”. Research paper currently under submission at a journal following “Revise and Resubmit” recommendation.