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85 jobs to be axed at printers Polestar
6:10am Wednesday 18th December 2013 in News
COLCHESTER print plant Polestar is closing, with the loss of about 85 jobs.
Employees at two sites owned by the print giant in Colchester were given the news by bosses on Monday, just days before Christmas.
Managers held a series of meetings at the Polestar sites, where workers were told they would have no job in the new year.
The move has been described as a body blow to Colchester’s industry by MP Sir Bob Russell.
It is understood the workers affected specialise on the M4000 press and in the binding section of the business.
Both are based on Severalls Industrial Park.
One worker who has been told his job will go, and asked not to be named, said: “We are seeing this as the beginning of the end for print here.
“It is dying and we’ve known that for some time – it has been inevitable.
“Unfortunately, it’s come at the time of year employers always do this, in the run-up to Christmas, which isn’t ideal. But, like I say, a lot of us have been preparing for this.
“People have been using their time to retrain and there are quite a few guys who are ready to be plasterers of plumbers, so they will be ready to look for work when it shuts.”
Up to seven jobs will remain, either at the third Colchester site or elsewhere in the country. The worker added: “The pay-off will help me retrain. I’m not scared of a bit of hard work.”
Another worker said: “I’m sure a lot of us will use this as a kind of clean slate. We’ve been worrying for so long and this is what we expected.”
Sir Bob said: “This is a body blow to what was a major printing industry in Colchester.
“I am clearly disappointed at the loss of jobs, particularly at this time of year, and I would like to have thought this could have been left until after Christmas.
“But that is the nature of big business. To them, the workforce is expendable.”
The Colchester sites were used as a base for the BT phonebook, until the contract was moved to Spain at short notice.
It now prints women’s magazines Best and Now, as well as music magazine Kerrang.
In August, the Gazette reported plans had been made by the company to move the M4000 to a more northern location where it would be closer to distribution centres.
Last year, staff at the Colchester sites agreed to take a10 per cent wage cut to stave off closure of the factory.
Polestar was contacted for comment but no one was available.
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