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.

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.”

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

  1. If you’ve seen Archants full year report for 2018 you’d know the dire state the company is in and why they’ve closed Thorpe print centre and various other district offices too, it’s all about cutting costs and reducing overheads to offset massive revenue losses and ongoing underperformance across the group.
    Over the past 3-5 years it’s become a rudderless ship crashing from one self inflicted disaster to the other with those at the helm clueless as to what to do next.

    Whilst it’s shocking for the 96 staff about to be laid off in many ways they’re the lucky ones, imagine being onboard a ship that’s rapidly sinking, being told everything’s fine and relying on those ‘currently’ in charge to save you.

    Good luck the long serving 96 TPC staff
    even more luck to those who remain.

  2. The EDP editor needs to show his mettle and whatever power and influence he has and campaign vigorously for this decision to be reversed.
    Archant have alienated the public over this issue so
    all eyes are on him now to see what effort and importance he puts into the fight to reverse this closure and halt the redundancies which will affect more than just those being laid off, as editor he cannot avoid the issue and needs to step up to the plate,the ball is firmly in his court.

    Failure to act would seriously put his impartiality and credibility as editor into question.

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