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9 January, 2012 - 18:01 By News Desk

Hammer blow for print workers

Unite is calling for a meeting with Polestar’s Colchester management team

The jobs of more 300 Unite members, working for leading print company, Polestar hang in the balance after the company announced its intention to shut down its print operations in Colchester, Essex.

Unite, the country’s biggest union, said that this is a hammer blow for workers with the company’s plans to close the base at Severalls Industrial Park spelling the end of a viable six print press operation, bind, mail and distribution service.

Staff were told late last week (Friday 6 January) of the company’s intention to begin a 90-day consultation into the print plant’s future.

The news follows fast on the heels of the announcement by local printers Wyndeham that it is to make 86 job cuts, making the prospect of finding future employment in the industry even more difficult.

Unite is calling for a meeting with Polestar’s Colchester management team to discuss ways of keeping the plant operating and the jobs of these workers safe.

Steve Sibbald, Unite national officer said: “The closure of this iconic print works in an area struggling against the coalition’s cuts is a massive blow to our members and their families. Most have worked in the print industry all their working lives and for many Polestar Colchester has been their one and only employer.  It’s in their blood.

“The announcement could not have come at a worst time for these workers. With the government seemly unable to get to grips with skyrocketing levels of unemployment and the news that local printers Wyndeham Heron is to axe 86 jobs, the likelihood of our members finding alternative employment in the industry is virtually nil.

“Unite is calling on Polestar to work with us to find a solution that will keep the plant operating, saving as many jobs as possible. Unite is committed to working alongside the company to safeguard the future livelihoods of our members.”

The Polestar group produces a range of newspaper supplements and magazines including NOW, TV Times, Countrylife and the Radio Times. Its clients include: Reeds Business Information, IPC and FT business.

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