Fighting deindustrialisation

Fighting Deindustrialisation
Scottish Women’s Factory Occupations, 1981-1982

Studies in Labour History, 19
Liverpool University Press
October 1st, 2021

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In Fighting Deindustrialisation, Andy Clark outlines and examines one of the most significant and under-researched periods in modern Scottish labour history. Over a fourteen month period in 1981 and 1982, as Scotland suffered the effects of the accelerated deindustrialisation of its economy, three workforces refused to accept the loss of their jobs. The predominantly women assembly workers at Lee Jeans (Greenock), Lovable Bra (Cumbernauld), and Plessey Capacitors (Bathgate) were informed that their multinational employers had taken the decisions to close their plants. At each site, a battle was fought against capital movement, corporate greed, and unfair jobloss. The workers occupied their factories and refused to vacate until their demands were met and closure avoided. At all sites this objective was achieved; none of the factories completely closed following the women’s occupations.

In this book, these occupations are analysed together for the first time, through a range of analytical frameworks from oral history, memory studies, industrial relations scholarship, and deindustrialisation studies. In his extensive examination, Clark argues that the actions of 1981-82 should be considered as one of the most significant periods in Scotland’s history of deindustrialisation. However, the public memory of 1981-82 is precarious; Fighting Deindustrialisation begins the process of incorporating women’s militant resistance within academic and popular understandings of working-class activism in later 20th century-Scotland.

Author Information
Andy Clark is a Research Associate in oral history with the Newcastle Oral History Collective, Newcastle University.