Labour of Love? Cognitive Workers, Academia and COVID-19: Reflection and Resistance - Monday 29 June at 5pm CET/11am EST


Dates and times: 

June 29, 2020 - 17:00


University of Manchester
The University of Manchester Law School
M13 9PL
United Kingdom


Dear friends and colleagues,

more than three months into the COVID-19 overdrive, are you tired of teaching, marking, being overworked and overstressed?
Are you finally feeling overwhelmed by emails, Zoom calls and webinars?

Perhaps you're thinking you could use a place to share your thoughts and experiences and pause to consider if we apply the principles we hold dear to ourselves as workers?
Or perhaps, are you just ready for what could count as group therapy?

We have the webinar for you to wind down the year with!

The final of the MLC COVID-19 webinar series is about all of us, amongst other categories of 'cognitive workers', and it follows-up from the very vibrant discussion we had last year in Valparaiso and the first relevant flip panel we had held there:

Labour of Love? Cognitive Workers, Academia and COVID-19: Reflection and Resistance will take place on Monday 29 June at 5pm CET/11am EST.

To participate (and the operative word is 'participate'), please use the following:

You can also use the Zoom ID 941 1855 5750, or click here to find your local one-tap mobile number.

You are all invited to jump into the discussion to share your experiences and insights.

Addressing the legal and socio-legal dimensions of phenomena such as casualisation, growth of precarious work contracts, and the attendant erosion of work conditions, have been mainstays in labour law scholarship. Over the last few months, academics and researchers have highlighted the furtherance of workforce fragmentation, the excessive health & safety risks, the exacerbation of inequalities, and the social reproductive capacities the COVID-19 pandemic, and state and management reaction to it, further revealed or enhanced. They have noted the challenges for established worker organisations and tried to shift the light towards grassroots responses and the potential for broader worker reaction.

However, rare was the moment when we paused to think our place and treatment as workers amidst all this. Could it be that all those issues apply not only to the subjects of our research but to us as well? Are we not on the same boat as everyone else?

In recent months, we were forced to adopt shift radical changes in our work, including a frenzy of intensive overwork, and, in some cases, to accept ‘emergency’ measures of ‘personnel cost reduction’ (pay cuts; redundancies; termination of fixed-term contracts), revealing the value ascribed to our labour and dignity. All were justified with reference to a long standing narrative: as academics, teachers and researchers, we are doing ‘what we love’, same as all cognitive workers; and that should be more than enough.

With this ‘flipped’ webinar, we aim to collectively reflect and discuss by: 1) shifting the lens onto our own work and workplaces, and 2) creating the space for conversation among all audience participants.

The following colleagues have accepted to kick-start the flip webinar by sharing theirs:

Meg Lonergan (Canada)
Ph.D. Candidate in Legal Studies & Political Economy, Carleton University; CUPE 4600, Unit 2 VP (chief negotiator)

Flavia Maximo (Brazil)
Assistant Professor, Labour Law and Social Security Department, Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto, Brazil

Dimitris Dalakoglou (Netherlands)
Professor, Chair of Social Anthropology, Vrije University Amsterdam

hink of it as group therapy. It’s time for us to share.

When you access the online seminar (,
please, make sure your full name appears on your Zoom connection to facilitate interaction and the Q&A.

The seminar will also be live streamed on the MLC’s Facebook page:

Hope to see you on Monday!

Try to get some rest over the weekend.

With Best Wishes

Fotis Vergis and Ania Zbyszewska
(on behalf of the Moving Labour Collective)

Find out more