A first workshop was organised on 24 September 1998 by the Istituto per il Lavoro, Bologna, during the 11th World Congress of Industrial Relations in Bologna, concerning institutions in the field of Work and Labour research. The meeting was quite successful and, as a result, the participants agreed that it would be useful to intensify and broaden such kinds of contacts on a regular basis. Although there are already a number of similar initiatives dealing with work and labour none of them specifically concern regional and local development.

As a result, the International Network for Regional and Local Development of Work and Labour was created in October 1999 on the occasion of the First International Conference on “The Role of Intermediate Institutions for Social Stability and Democracy”. This event, which was held in Ravello (Italy), was organised by the Institute for Labour Foundation (IpL) and aimed to stimulate an exchange of experiences among intermediate institutions.

In November 2000 the Second RLDWL Conference took place in Rio de Janeiro. This time the Conference was organised by Unitrabalho, the Brazilian Interuniversity Labour Study and Research Network. The main theme of this event was the relationship between the improvement of working conditions and local and regional development, and had important consequences for the further development of the Work and Labour Network. One of the most significant outcomes of the Conference was the official adoption of the Network Statutes as proposed by the founder members. The third conference was organised in Osnabrück in May 2002 under the title “Labour, Globalisation and the New Economy”. The fourth Conference had as its title “Transnational co-operation on social regulation” and was held at the University of KwaZuluNatal in Durban, South Africa in February 2004. The fifth Congress “Education, Science & Labour - Perspectives for the 21st Century” took again place in Osnabrück in September 2006. The sixth Congress was held in June 2008 in Montreal under the responsibility of the Center of research on social innovations (CRISES) at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM), the theme was “Social Innovation, the Social Economy and World Economic Development”.  Our last event was the Congress “Labour & Sustainable Development”, organized in Beijing in June 2010 at the University of Renmin.