Polestar Colchester staff in 30-day consultation

By Simon Nias, Wednesday 18 December 2013

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Polestar has confirmed that it has entered a 30-day consultation with a number of staff at its Colchester web offset site.

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Polestar Colchester

The consultation, which started on 16 December, is believed to result from the £50m upgrade to the group's web offset platform, which includes two 96pp Sunday 5000, two 64pp Sunday 4000 and a pair of 16pp M600 presses, all from Goss.

In addition to the new presses, the web re-equip will see kit from Polestar Colchester relocated elsewhere within the group, including the site's M4000 - which is believed to be destined for Bicester or Chantry - and one or two Ferag binding lines.

Polestar Group chief executive Barry Hibbert confirmed that the group was in consultation with a number of staff at Colchester but said an agreement with Unite precluded him from confirming specifics.

However, according to local newspaper the Colchester Gazette, around 85 jobs are being affected, which PrintWeek understands includes 20 pressroom staff with the balance from the bindery.

The consultation comes just under two years after Polestar proposed the closure of the Colchester site, in January 2012, in the face of increasing manufacturing costs and the negative outlook for the European web offset market.

The site was granted a reprieve in March 2012 after staff agreed to a raft of changes, including a reduction in working hours, a pay cut, flat rate overtime pay and a "slight" reduction in holiday entitlement.

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