Union says staff at Archant print presses feel 'real anger' over planned closure

Trade union Unite has said it will campaign against Archant’s plan to outsource the printing and distribution of all of its newspapers, putting up to 96 jobs at risk at its in-house printing facility.

Unite claimed there is a “real disappointment” among staff that newspapers such as the Eastern Daily Press will no longer be printed locally in Norwich after the Thorpe Print Centre shuts next month.

It also accused Archant of misleading customers with its claim that the “majority” of staff will be moved elsewhere.

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Printing of Archant’s more than 50 regional newspaper titles will move to Newsprinters, a subsidiary of News UK, in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, 109 miles from the £40m Thorpe facility, which will be left idle.

The distribution of Archant’s Norfolk and Suffolk titles, also previously in-house, will be taken over by Menzies and Smith News.

Archant, whose titles including The New European and East Anglian Daily Times, told staff last month the move would provide “substantial cost savings” as it continues to invest in digital.

It said the majority of jobs at Thorpe will transfer to one of the three new suppliers under Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations, although staff were told there may be redundancies.

However Unite has said it is expecting 96 job losses, claiming there is “real anger” from staff that Archant management has “misled customers” to believe workers’ employment would transfer with the work.

Unite regional officer Mark Walker said: “This is a real slap in the face for the dedicated workforce – many of whom have been with the company for over 20 years.

“We are hoping to mobilise public opinion in a campaign to save these jobs and ensure that there is a vibrant ‘mixed’ economy for Norfolk in the years ahead.”

The campaign has already received support from Norwich South MP Clive Lewis. Unite also called the planned closure a “bitter blow” to the economy in Norfolk.

Walker also said: “There is real disappointment amongst a loyal workforce at Archant that the printing of local newspaper titles will be carried out over 100 miles away in Hertfordshire – the Eastern Daily Press has been printed in Norwich since the 1870s.”

Archant has declined to comment beyond its original statement.

It said last month: “Continuing reductions in paginations and quantities of [Archant’s] newspaper portfolio has led the business to a review of the printing of its newspaper titles.”

Picture: Google Maps

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Comments

12 thoughts on “Union says staff at Archant print presses feel 'real anger' over planned closure”

  1. The EDP editor puts self promotion and going on local radio to talk about the Norwich city sticker book promotion as being more important than campaigning to save these jobs even though he’s usually the first aboard any passing bandwagon when major Norfolk job losses are announced,so what little credibility he had left has now completely gone.

    The great former editors of the once credible EDP must be turning in their graves.

  2. Patricia Dunton
    They’ve shown themselves time and again to have no regard for staff welfare once their usefulness is over, staff there are just a number that’s why all the good ones are now long gone and despite their public face as trying to come across as a caring employer who is at the heart of the local communities they’ve become a joke!

    Like you , many many more Norfolk people are boycotting all Archant products and the groundswell is growing daily. Local businesses are pulling adverts and others will not be renewing even the farcical annual “deals” they’re on which amounts to the company having to drop rates so low just to fill the papers but which doesn’t bring response.
    The biggest anger I see is against the so called EDP editor who had turned a blind eye to the major redundancy story when , in order to ingratiate himself with local people has been quick to jump on any passing bandwagon that might sell a few copies of the paper particularly when it comes to large businesses making huge numbers of staff redundant. He has shown himself as being a ‘yes man’ editor in name only and if he has any decency and in order to save what little credibility he has left ought to step down.

    Yhe TPC closure is another shocking example of how they treat staff and another sign of how desperate things have become at this once well respected company now being shot to pieces and on it’s last legs.

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