News Room

Event: BUIRA History of Industrial Relations Study Group

Deindustrialisation and Industrial Relations in Scotland: 1960s until Today

Thursday 7 June 2018: 15.30-17.30 (Tea/ coffee from 15.00)

Room C279, University of Westminster Business School, 35 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5LS (opposite Madame Tussauds and nearly opposite Baker Street tube)

For further details or to reserve a place, please e-mail Michael Gold ( or Linda Clarke (


3.00-3.20pm: Tea/ coffee/ refreshments

3.20pm: Welcome and introductions: Michael Gold and Linda Clarke (Chairs)


3.30-4.00pm: Jim Phillips, Jim Tomlinson and Valerie Wright (presented by Jim Phillips)

Deindustrialisation, Ownership and Industrial Relations, c. 1963-1993: Evidence from Linwood Car Manufacturing and Timex Dundee

Deindustrialisation was a phased and managed process, which structured industrial relations. From the mid-1950s industrial workers and communities in Scotland were persuaded to trade ‘old’ jobs in the staples for ‘new’ jobs in lighter engineering. ‘New’ employers acquired obligations, partly because public money was involved in establishing business premises and associated housing. The cases of Linwood car manufacturing and Timex Dundee show that workers exerted moral economy claims to ownership of these new jobs and factories. Through trade union organisation, embedded in community and familial ties, they challenged managerial sovereignty, particularly at points of transition or crisis.


4.00-4.30pm: Dr Jenny O’Neil and Dr Vaughan Ellis

Unheard Voices of Decline: Scottish Oil Sector

This paper examines how employment in the Scottish oil industry is changing as the industry declines, shedding in excess of 120,000 jobs between 2014 and 2016 as oil prices fell. Yet, the absence of workers’ voice in policy discussions about how best to safeguard the industry and utilise their skills has meant that other stakeholders’ interests have been privileged. Drawing from in depth oral history interviews with off shore oil workers, it is argued that workers are experiencing lower wages, fewer shifts, difficulty accessing re-training and career changes as well as adverse effects on family life and wellbeing.

4.30-5.00pm: General discussion

5.00pm: Close (followed by drinks until 5.30pm)

The speakers:

Jim Phillips is a Senior Lecturer in Economic and Social History at the University of Glasgow, where he and his c-authors are working on a Leverhulme-funded project, Employment, Politics and Culture in Scotland since 1955. Jim co-edits Scottish Labour History and Historical Studies in Industrial Relations.

Dr Jenny O’Neil is a Lecturer in Labour Relations and Global HRM at Edinburgh Napier University. Her research interests include skills development within turbulent environments, employee voice and Global HRM.

Dr Vaughan Ellis is a Lecturer in Work and Industrial Relations specialising in the contemporary organisation and experience of work, and how changes in an organisations' external environment impact upon the labour process.

18th April 2018