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‘We Were the Ones Really Doing Something About It’: Gender and Mobilisation against Factory Closure

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Andy Clark


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© The Author(s) 2018. Current understandings of worker mobilisation against factory closure and capital migration in Britain are dominated by the perspectives of male industrial workers. The narratives of displaced miners, shipbuilders and steel workers are prominent in the historiography and collective memories of deindustrialisation. There is considerably less understanding of the response of female manufacturing workers to these processes and the ways in which women mobilised in opposition to the free movement of capital. This article presents the testimony of Margaret Robertson, shop steward at the Lee Jeans factory in Greenock, Scotland, where the predominantly female workforce conducted a successful seven-month occupation in opposition to proposed closure beginning in February 1981. The contribution highlights the specific gendered challenges encountered by women workers. The occupation occurred in a period of accelerated factory closure in Britain, yet supporting female unionists resisting job loss was not a priority for the male-dominated union executive.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Robertson M, Clark A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Work, Employment and Society

Year: 2019

Volume: 33

Issue: 2

Pages: 336-344

Print publication date: 01/04/2019

Online publication date: 03/09/2018

Acceptance date: 01/05/2018

ISSN (print): 0950-0170

ISSN (electronic): 1469-8722

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.


DOI: 10.1177/0950017018785861


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