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Title: The process and consequences of industrial restructuring and plant closure : a case study from the UK steel industry
Author: Greenwood, Ian
ISNI:       0000 0001 2435 3458
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2009
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The central objective of the thesis has been to present an account of the industrial relations of industrial restructuring and plant closure. Whilst there are many portrayals of the circumstances of plant closure and particularly the implications for victims and survivors, academic interest has rarely focused on the whole process. Hence a key consideration has been the exploration of the full life cycle of plant closure: the complex dynamics of the processes of industrial restructuring, framed by historical, geographical and political contexts and the social and industrial relations processes therein. Included here is the attempt by one trade union to develop a post closure strategy of community unionism. The context for the study is that of the UK steel industry and specifically the Corus restructuring exercise that took place in 2001 and 2002. The research strategy took the form of a qualitative, embedded case study. Hence although the closure of the Ebbw Vale steelworks was the focus for detailed investigation, the research encompassed the wider corporate organisation and also the community of Ebbw Vale. The findings show that the crisis that engulfed Corus in 2001 was the result of the combination of historical, financial and political factors. The ability of the organisation to respond to crisis was almost fatally damaged by the power of the banks and tensions between Dutch and UK managementA. t national level, unions were also divided by internal divisions. At this level, there was no rapprochement betweent he representatives of labour and capital. Once,however, the requirements of restructuring moved to plant level and the reality of closing a site over a protracted period of time, the financial and human crisis of restructuring produced a different dynamic. There was a shift in the balance of power towards labour and constructive engagement between unions and management occurred. The findings also show that an organic link with industry and community might be a necessary but not sufficient condition for the success of attempts by unions to retain membership and influence post plant closure. In conclusion, the findings demonstrate how industrial restructuring and plant closure are subject to different and distinct phases of negotiation shaped by wider political,managerial and union strategies. The interplay of different forms of employee participation, the ebb and flow of power relations and the balance between conflict and cooperation are the key dynamics highlighted in this thesis.
Supervisor: Stuart, M. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available