About Us

Current President

  • Prof Harry Katz


  • Prof Rae Cooper

Past Presidents 

  • Prof Mia Rönnmar (2018-2021), Sweden
  • Prof Dong-One Kim (2015-2018), Republic of Korea
  • 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

Past Secretaries

  • Mr Damian Grimshaw (2019)
  • Mr K. Fannizadeh (2018)
  • Mr Moussa Oumarou (2010-2017)
  • 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)

The International Labour and Employment Relations Association (ILERA) was established in 1967. Its general purpose is to promote the study of labour and employment relations throughout the world in relevant academic disciplines, by such means as:

  • encouraging the establishment and development of national associations of labour and employment relations specialists;
  • facilitating the spread of information about significant developments in research and education in the field of labour and employment relations;
  • organising worldwide and regional congresses; and
  • promoting internationally planned research, by organising study groups on particular topics.

Some history

The International Industrial Relations Association (IIRA) was officially established on 30 June 1966, at a meeting in London. The founding members were the British Universities Industrial Relations Association (BUIRA), UK, the Industrial Relations Research Association (now called Labour Employment Relations Association, LERA), USA, the Japan Institute of Labour (JIL) and the International Institute for Labour Studies (IILS) of the ILO. The first IIRA World Congress was held from 4 – 8 September 1967 in Geneva. At this time, the IIRA already counted 10 Full members: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Finland, Israel, Italy, UK and USA, 11 Institutional members and 160 Individual Members.

In 2010 the IIRA changed its name to the International Labour and Employment Relations Association (ILERA).

Why the change in name?

Since 1966 the range of issues covered at IIRA congresses has broadened. The Association has become increasingly relevant in developing countries where many persons work in the informal economy.

The scope of subject matter has also expanded to include the transnational movement of labour, non-standard work, labour market regulation, and discrimination in employment. The change in name is intended to reflect this world of work, including additional subjects and developing country labour market contexts. It also reflects the broadening of the field of study of work relations to include all those who work, whether in paid employment, self-employment or the care economy.

How was this decided?

Although the name of the association had been discussed for about a decade, a formal proposal to change the name was first put forward during the 14th World Congress in Lima in 2006. Then on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the IIRA at the 8th European Regional Congress in Manchester, United Kingdom in September 2007, a special panel discussion was organized on: “IIRA: past and Future. What next for the International Industrial Relations Association?”. After a rich discussion, it was decided that the Executive Committee should propose a new name for the association. During the 15th World Congress in Sydney in August 2009, the Executive Committee proposed that the name be change to The International Labour and Employment Relations Association. This was approved by the Council. The Executive Committee met during the 9th European Regional Congress, Copenhagen, Denmark in June 2010 and decided that the new name would come into effect on 1 July 2010. It also approved the new logo.


Robert W. Cox, was born in Canada in 1926. He worked for the ILO from 1947 to 1972. In 1954, he became “chef de cabinet” when David Morse was the Director – General and later became Director of the IILS. He was the first Secretary of ILERA from 1967 to 1970.

Ben C. Roberts was one of the founding members of BUIRA, UK. He met Cox during one of his numerous visits to the IILS. He was the first elected IIRA President from 1976 to 1970 and stayed for a second term from 1970 until 1973.


At the first World Congress, IIRA already counted 10 Full members: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Finland, Israel, Italy, UK and USA, 11 Institutional members and 160 Individual Members.