The Resilience of Gender Segregation in the UK General Print Sector
Against a background of technological change, national bargaining and union merger, this paper considers the nature of changing equality practices at the workplace level in the printing industry in the UK. Cockburns (1983) seminal study on the printing industry pointed to the historical basis of gender segregation and its associated gendered demarcation of work. Underpinning this analysis was what Phillips and Taylor (1980) have characterised as an ongoing sexual division of labour and skills. In the context of changing forms of work resulting from technological developments, it is timely to revisit occupational segregation in print manufacturing. Arguably a number of initiatives in print are providing a more enabling climate to challenge traditional forms of gender segregation. Yet, despite undoubted change, it is the case that job segregation, through a resilient gendered division of labour, remains a characteristic of the industry. This paper considers the impact of national level collective agreements and union strategies and their local impact to explain the enduring nature of gender segregation in the general printing industry.