Wyndeham reorganises for life after IPC

Wyndeham Group will keep Southernprint open, despite the loss of the IPC Media contract, thanks to a new working time agreement with staff.

The £125m turnover print group has been consulting with staff at the Poole site for the past month. From 1 July employees at the site will work reduced hours, on commensurately reduced pay, for a period of up to a year.

During this time Wyndeham aims to win new work to fill the huge gap in Southernprint’s schedule.

PrintWeek understands that the group’s £10m IPC contract accounted for between 40-45% of the plant’s work.

“As a group we would only want to substantially reduce capacity if it is felt that volume cannot be replaced in the medium term,” said chief executive Paul Utting.

Utting said the group had been put in a difficult position because of the short amount of notice it had over the loss of such a large contract. IPC had been expected to announce the result of its tender at the turn of the year, but only made the decision public nine weeks ago.

He said the deal means Wyndeham retains an important skill base.

Employees will typically be working 70% of their usual contractual hours, but with Wyndeham retaining the ability to scale up those hours, and the site’s production capacity, if required.

Southernprint employs around 160 staff, and there will be 31 redundancies as part of the reorganisation, which Wyndeham said was “far less than the loss of volume might suggest.”

Utting told PrintWeek: “I think this is a positive thing. The employees at Southernprint could see how much work they did for IPC, and with the best will in the world we can’t replace that work overnight.

“They saw the logic of our proposal, we have an intelligent workforce there and they accepted it overwhelmingly.”

The group will complete its last tranche of print work for the publisher this month, before the IPC magazines transfer to Polestar.

Wyndeham has also begun a 30-day consultation over 21 proposed redundancies at its Heron plant in Essex, which produced a smaller amount of work for IPC. 12 of the positions to go will be in the pressroom.

Utting said that despite the setback, the overall business had been making progress. “We’ve made a good start to the year and have had a very positive response from the market. I’m confident that will continue in the second half.”