MG Rover workers: what happened next?

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)The Birmingham Business School at the University of Birmingham obtained funding from the Economic and Social Research Council to conduct the study Ex-MG Rover workers: 3 years on (PDF, 989kb).

The study consisted of a  survey of 204 ex-workers conducted via telephone in April 2008, along with in-depth interviews of 30 workers and 30 local and regional practioners and policy makers.

The main research questions included:

  • What have been their pathways back to work?
  • What have the impacts been on the communities where these workers lived?
  • What types of policy response were put in regionally?

The  research findings showed that:

  • 90% of ex-MG Rover workers found new employment, although many had difficulties obtaining employment due to the large number of people applying to the same job.
  • 60% of ex-workers underwent some form of training and education.
  • 11% of ex-workers were still unemployed as of April 2008.

It also appeared that many ex-workers went into jobs with lower levels of autonomy, challenge and skill use than other workers in the UK.

The survey also found that individuals went through various routes to get jobs. This variation was due to the individuals’:

  • Age
  • Qualifications
  • Occupation
  • Ability to commute longer distances

On the policy side, the MG Rover Task Force was set up to support workers and firms in the supply chain, as well as communities in Longbridge and Northfield.

Based on responses from participants it was found that better advice was needed on the entitlement to training courses. There also appeared to be a need to inform people of the changed nature of the job market and the types of jobs likely to be available.

It will be interesting to see the policy response of the LDV Taskforce, which has been created in response to the closure of Birmingham van maker LDV.

Further information on the case of ex-MG Rover workers, along with a detailed outline of the study, is available on the Centre of Urban and Regional Studies site.

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