A printing plant responsible for producing four daily newspapers and a host of weeklies is facing closure, placing up to 90 jobs under threat.
Management at Harmsworth Printing is conducting “an urgent review” of its plant in Plymouth because of “continued unused capacity”.
It is responsible for publishing titles in the South West Media Group, the division of Northcliffe Media which owns dailies The Herald and Western Morning News in Plymouth, Exeter’s Express and Echo and the Torquay-based Herald Express along with associated weeklies across Devon.
Insiders told HTFP that it is believed 90 jobs are under threat but staff had not been told where the titles would be printed instead if the closure were given the green light.
The nearest Harmsworth Printing plant to Plymouth is in Didcot, Oxfordshire, which is nearly 200 miles away.
Staff were told of the proposed changes in an internal memo from new SWMG managing director Andrew Blair this morning which has been seen by HTFP.
“The managing director of Harmsworth Printing John Bird announced to our colleagues in Harmsworth Printing Ltd that, due to the continued unused capacity across the group, an urgent review of the printing requirement is being undertaken,” it said.
“A possible consequence of this review may be the closure of the Plymouth press. Harmsworth Printing staff potentially affected will be engaged in a consultation process starting later this month.
“If the decision is made to close the press in Plymouth it is anticipated that the closing date will be around March 2010.
“Any decision to close the Plymouth press will not affect the ongoing publishing of any titles currently printed on the press including all of South West Media Group titles.”
Mr Blair’s office said he would be making no further comment at this stage.
All Subbed Out (07/01/2010 13:37:05)
Two hundred miles to the nearest press? We’re going back to the days of getting printed news by mail coach. Any thoughts how early deadlines will have to be in weather like this?
beenthereseenthat (07/01/2010 14:55:50)
Blimey! Blair strikes again – and he’s only been there five seconds. He (or more likely his bosses) obviously doesn’t like printing plants – he’s already got rid of Staverton. Didcot here you come boys, they print everyone else in the west country already (except for the bits printed in Wales). Get set for horrendous coding and tissue paper!
Disenchanted. (07/01/2010 15:08:13)
Probably won’t stop there knowing DMGT – 200 miles is too far away for dailies so they’ll probably turn them all into weeklies and have done leading to even further redundancies – but who cares as long as the shareholders are OK and the directors are getting cost-cutting bonues eh? You mark my words, that’s what’s to come – dailies into weeklies!
Steve Simpson (07/01/2010 15:27:10)
And still it goes on. How to take a successful business and reduce it to dust. Presumably the big bosses don’t care what is going on in the South West. Good people gone, papers crippled. Beggars belief. If the aim was to stop people buying the papers and cause circulation to go into freefall, then bravo!
f8andbeenthere (07/01/2010 17:40:52)
Hmmm, The Western Weekly News? Gotta ring to it hasn’t it.
Meanwhile the great glass ship outside Guz will become a museum to local press all over the country – ex blunts, subs, stringers hacks and monkeys will be offered a chance of being part of this living museum experience – at a much reduced salary of course. In fact in true Northcliffe spirit they will actually pay to exhibit themselves – -rather than being paid.