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Plant closures, precariousness and policy responses: Revisiting MG Rover 10 years on

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With automotive plants being closed in Australia and western Europe, this article reflects on the employment status of ex-MG Rover (MGR) workers following the closure of the Longbridge plant in 2005. In particular, it draws on Standing's typology of labour market insecurity and uses a mixed-methods approach including an analysis of a longitudinal survey of some 200 ex-MGR workers, and in-depth interviews with ex-workers and policy-makers. While the policy response to the closure saw significant successes in terms of the great majority of workers successfully adjusting into re-employment, and with positive findings in terms of re-training and education, the paper finds significant challenges in terms of security of employment, income, job quality and representation at work years after closure. In particular, the paper posits that the general lack of attention to employment security at the macrolevel effectively undermined elements of a positive policy response over the longer run. This in turn suggests longer-term policy measures are required to address aspects of precariousness at work.
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Keywords: Plant closures; deindustrialisation; economic shocks; labour market policy; precariousness

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Aston Business School, Aston University, Birmingham, B4 7ET, UK 2: The Glasgow School for Business and Society, Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland

Publication date: July 4, 2015

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