After teaching for four years in the Oxford University Department for External Studies where he was Staff Tutor in Industrial Relations, Professor McIlroy worked at the University of Manchester where he became a Reader in Sociology. From 2005-2010 he was Professor of Industrial Relations at Keele University. He has forty years experience teaching all kinds of students in schools, colleges and universities. His research interests have focused on labour law, labour history, employment relations and radical movements. Professor McIlroy has been awarded grants from the British Academy, the Economic and Social Science Research Council, the Higher Education Funding Council and the Leverhulme Trust. He has served as a member of the editorial boards of Historical Materialism, Historical Studies in Industrial Relations and Revolutionary History.
Professor McIlroy has authored and co-edited a number of books including Going to Law (1980); with Alan Campbell, Getting Organised (1981); Industrial Tribunals (1983); Strike! (1984); Trade Unions in Britain Today (1988, 1995); The Permanent Revolution: Conservative Law and the Trade Unions (1991); with Sallie Westwood, Border Country: Raymond Williams in Adult Education (1993); with Bill Jones, Going to University (1993); with Alan Campbell and Nina Fishman, British Trade Unions and Industrial Politics: The Postwar Compromise, 1945-1964 (1999, 2007); with Alan Campbell and Nina Fishman, British Trade Unions and Industrial Politics. The High-Tide of Trade Unionism, 1964-1979 (1999, 2007); with Alan Campbell and Kevin Morgan, Party People, Communist Lives: Explorations in Biography (2001); with Alan Campbell and Keith Gildart, The Struggle for Dignity. Industrial Politics and the 1926 Mining Lockout (2004, 2009); with Gary Daniels, Trade Unions in A Neoliberal World (2009, 2010); with Joan Allen and Alan Campbell, Histories of Labour: National and International Perspectives (2010).
Professor McIlroy has published more than 120 articles in refereed journals and chapters in books. His journalism has appeared in the New Statesman, Marxism Today and Tribune.
McIlroy, John (2015) Asa Briggs and the emergence of Labour History in Postwar Britain in Taylor, Miles, ed, The Age of Asa: Lord Briggs, Public Life and History in Britain since 1945. Palgrave Macmillan, pp.108-141. ISBN 9781137392572.
McIlroy, John (2013) British Labour and the challenge of Israel-Palestine. Capital and Class, 37 (3). pp. 491-496. ISSN 0309-8168
McIlroy, John and Croucher, Richard (2013) British trade unions and the academics: the case of Unionlearn. Capital and Class, 37 (2). pp. 263-284. ISSN 0309-8168
Croucher, Richard and McIlroy, John (2013) Mauritius 1938: the origins of a milestone in colonial trade union legislation.Labor History, 54 (3). pp. 223-239. ISSN 0023-656X
McIlroy, John (2013) Organizing for partnership: the influence of the American Federation of Labor Congress of Industrial Organisations on the British Trades Union Congress 1995–2005.Labor History, 54 (2). pp. 138-160. ISSN 0023-656X
McIlroy, John (2012) Asa Briggs and the emergence of labour history in post-war Britain [article].Labour History Review, 77 (2). pp. 211-242. ISSN 091 5682
McIlroy, John (2012) Strikes and class consciousness in the early work of Richard Hyman. Capital & Class, 36 (1). pp. 53-75. ISSN 0309-8168
McIlroy, John (2012) Waving or drowning? British labor history in troubled waters. Labor History, 53 (1). pp. 91-119. ISSN 0023-656X
McIlroy, John and Campbell, Alan (2011) The last chance saloon? The Independent Labour Party and miners' militancy in the Second World War revisited. Journal of Contemporary History, 46 (4). pp. 871-896. ISSN 0022-0094
McIlroy, John (2011) A Labour historian of the old school - Raymond Challinor remembered. Labour History Review, 76 (2). pp. 143-160. ISSN 0961 5652
McIlroy, John (2010) Birch, Reginald, ‘Reg’ (1914-1944) Trade Union Leader, Communist, Maoist in Gildart, Keith and Howell, David, eds, Dictionary of Labour Biography Vol XIII. Palgrave Macmillan pp.24-35. ISBN 9780230004566.
McIlroy, John and Campbell, Alan (2010) McGahey, Michael, ‘Mick’ Miners’ Leader and Communist in Gildart, Keith and Howell, David, eds, Dictionary of Labour Biography Vol XIII. Palgrave Macmillan pp.241-251. ISBN 9780230004566.
McIlroy, John (2010) The Society for the Study of Labour History, 1956–1985: its origins and its heyday.Labour History Review, 75 (S.1). pp. 19-112. ISSN 0961-5052
McIlroy, John (2008) Ten years of New Labour: workplace learning, social partnership and union revitalization in Britain. British Journal of Industrial Relations, 46 (2). pp. 283-313. ISSN 0007-1080
Campbell, Alan and McIlroy, John (2008) The National Unemployed Workers Movement and the Communist Party of Great Britain revisited. Labour History Review, 73 (1). pp. 61-88. ISSN 0961-5652
McIlroy, John (2007) Two tales about crisis and corruption at the Central Labour College. Labour History Review, 72 (1). pp. 69-73. ISSN 09615652.
Theorising Trade Unionism
McIlroy, John, A Brief History of Rank and File Movements. Critique: Journal of Socialist Theory, 44 (1-2), 2016, pp. 31-65. ISSN 03017605.
McIlroy John, The revival and decline of rank and file movements in Britain during the 1930s. Labor History, 57 (3), 2016, pp. 347-373. ISSN 0023656X.
Reconsidering the New Left and Communism at Work
McIlroy, John, Communist Intellectuals and 1956: John Saville, Edward Thompson and The Reasoner, in Flewers, Paul and McIlroy, John eds 1956: John Saville, Edward Thompson and The Reasoner. Forthcoming, 2016.
McIlroy, John, British Communists and the 1932 turn to the trade unions. Labor History 56 (5) 2015, pp. 541-565. ISSN 0023656X.
Marxist Analysis and Employment Relations
McIlroy, John, Marxism and the trade unions: the bureaucracy and the rank and file debate revisited. Critique: Journal of Socialist Theory, 42 (4), 2014, pp. 497-526. ISSN 03017605.
Global Employment Relations
McIlroy, John, Léon Jouhaux, Louis Saillant and the national and international in transnational trade unionism. Labor History, 54 (5) 2013, pp. 554-576. ISSN 0023656X.
McIlroy, John and Croucher, Richard. The turn to transnational labor history and the study of global trade unionism. Labor History 54 (5), 2013, pp. 491-511. ISSN 0023656X.
McIlroy, John (2016) John Saville and Stalinism. In: 1956: John Saville, EP Thompson and The Reasoner. Flewers, Paul and McIlroy, John , eds. Merlin Press, London, pp. 351-393. ISBN 9780850367263
McIlroy, John (2016) Communist Intellectuals and 1956: John Saville, Edward Thompson and The Reasoner. In: 1956: John Saville, EP Thompson and The Reasoner. Flewers, Paul and McIlroy, John , eds. Merlin Press, London, pp. 1-51. ISBN 9780850367263
Campbell, Alan and McIlroy, John (2018) ‘The Trojan Horse’: Communist entrism in the British Labour party, 1933–43. Labor History . ISSN 0023-656X (Published online first)
McIlroy, John (2018) Bob Crow and the politics of Trade Unionism. Critique: Journal of Socialist Theory, 46 (1). pp. 131-161. ISSN 0301-7605
McIlroy, John (2017) Another look at E. P. Thompson and British Communism, 1937–1955. Labor History, 58 (4). pp. 506-539. ISSN 0023-656X