Plant closure and policy response: An examination of the LDV closure, impact and response

  • Thomas Edwin Dudley

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The de-industrialisation of the UK economy caused by globalised international markets, advancements in technology and production with changing consumer demands have made much of what was ‘traditional’ manufacturing redundant; this has led to industrial restructuring or even collapse, resulting in mass job redundancies. Market and industrial pressures have intensified since the late 1990s,culminating in the symbolic collapse of MG Rover in 2005in addition to other key producers in the West Midlands, which represented the end of mass automotive production in the region(Donnelly et al.2012). This came alongside various geographical, political and economic factors, including the restructuring of regional development agencies, prolonged industrial decline and a period of national economic recession, which presented challenges for any recovery.

This thesis examines more precisely the closure of the commercial vehicle manufacturer LDV in 2009,once apart of the larger conglomerate British Leyland. The closure further reinforced the decline in UK automotive manufacturing until that point. The research involves the corporate collapse of LDV and the local government reaction to the closure and the following re-employment pathways of the redundant LDV workforce. The research continues the discussion of plant closures and the issues that redundant workers face when engaged in the labour market during economic recession. In particular, the thesis contribution employs a qualitative approach to examine the difficulties faced by the office tier, or ‘white collar’, workers who possess relatively high skills and who regarded as flexible and less vulnerable workers within the labour market. Yet this research exposes that highly skilled specialist workers are themselves also subject to unique issues when adjusting to the labour market. This topic is covered through the concept of worker trajectories: the research illustrates the unique employability issues and job precariousness that highly skilled workers can experience. The research concludes that the ability of highly skilled redundant workers to adapt effectively requires local job recovery strategies to implement short-and long-term policies with an emphasis on better job search and network development for individuals to sustain a resilient economy, and to mitigate the effects of plant closure upon redundant workers and maintain high skills within the region.
Date of Award2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Coventry University
SupervisorDavid Bailey (Supervisor), David Jarvis (Supervisor) & Nigel Berkeley (Supervisor)

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