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Local World contract switch blamed as 23 print jobs lost

A “severely diminished” contract with a regional publisher has been blamed for the redundancy of half of a printing company’s workforce.

A total of 23 employees have been let go by Iliffe Print, in Cambridge, after Local World switched the printing of 19 of its titles to alternative plants.

They include the Leicester Mercury, now printed at West Ferry Printers in Luton, and the Burton Mail, now printed on Trinity Mirror’s presses in Birmingham.

A letter from Iliffe Print management, which has been seen by HTFP, stated that LW’s decision to move the newspapers to alternative print plants meant they were unable to sustain staffing levels.

Cambs Iliffe

Other LW newspapers moved from Cambridge include Bedforshire On Sunday,  the MK News and Nuneaton News.

Titles still printed by Iliffe include the Cambridge News, Cambridge Crier, the Weekly News series, Hertfordshire Mercury, Harlow Star and Dunmow & Stansted Observer.

Local World was formed by a merger of Iliffe News and Media and Northcliffe Newspapers in 2012, but Iliffe retained its sister printing operation and £9.5m Cambridge plant, which was opened by Prince Edward in March 2009.

Staff were informed of the cuts in December, with those laid off receiving their final payment at the of January.

A letter to staff from Iliffe managing director Tracy Wright read: “The contract the company has with Local World has been severely diminished and 19 titles have been lost in all.

“Clearly this will lead to a reduction in workload and looking at current and future orders, it is unlikely that we will be able to sustain the same level of staff.

“It is therefore, with regret that the Company now has to make a reduction in its workforce and consider redundancies in order to approach the future with economic viability.”

It adds: “On a personal note may I say how sorry I am that this situation has come about particularly at this time of year, and I wish to assure all employees that this is no reflection upon their abilities or commitment to the company.

“It merely reflects the difficult trading circumstances in which the company is operating.”

Iliffe has declined to add anything further while Local World has yet to respond to HTFP’s request for a comment.

2 comments

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  • February 10, 2015 at 9:16 am
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    Bit ironic this comes less than a week after Local World commercial boss Blanche Sainsbury gave such an upbeat forecast of the industry’s medium to long-term prospects. Let’s hope the casualties find new jobs quickly.

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  • February 10, 2015 at 9:20 am
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    How does that work then – a Leicester evening paper printed in Luton. What’s the deadline for the front page, the previous evening ?

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