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Title: 'Not our jobs to sell' : workforce mobilization, deindustrialisation and resistance to plant closure : Scottish female factory occupations, 1981-1982
Author: Clark, Andy
Awarding Body: University of Strathclyde
Current Institution: University of Strathclyde
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis seeks to expand our understanding of widespread workplace closures and socio-economic change that occurred in Scotland in the late twentieth-century by incorporating the narratives of female workers that took resistive action to the mobility of capital. Its focus is on the early 1980s, a period of accelerated industrial contraction that saw the decline of the nation's traditional heavy industries, and those sectors in which women dominated, such as clothing and light electronics. Three instances of previously under-researched resistance to proposed factory closure are extensively analysed in an attempt to comprehend how the workers involved perceived their work, the impacts of closure on their communities, and how their actions developed. It is argued that female manufacturing workers, while consistently occupying the lowest paid and lowest skilled jobs, extracted substantial value from their experiences of work based on the solidarities forged at the point of production. Scottish labour history has continued to neglect the narratives of the women that worked at these sites, leading to a significant degree of speculation over their perceptions of industrial work. This thesis addresses this omission by placing the testimonies and reflections of the workers at the centre of its analysis. In considering the mobilization of the workers through occupying plants to resist closure, it is argued that a multitude of factors dictate whether workers form a collective and choose to take oppositional action. The bonds of solidarity created among workers based on their position in the labour process cannot be separated from the collective actions that develop. Furthermore, it is asserted that these factory occupations were highly influenced by socio-economic developments in each of the localities where they were based, creating additional complexity to assessing why, and how, these groups of workers acted collectively, contributing to general discussions on workforce collectivism through industrial action.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral