Unite steps in to pay dispute at Artisan Press

Sarah Cosgrove
Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Talks between Unite and management of Artisan Press are taking place after union members rejected new changes to working conditions.

According to a source at the Leicestershire printer the firm has proposed to cut extra pay for hours worked as overtime and over weekends, which Printweek understands Unite members have overwhelmingly voted against.

Artisan Press managing director Stephen Denbigh confirmed the company was looking to make agreements with staff to reduce pay and benefits, in common with its competitors, saying it had reluctantly made the decision "to ensure that in the medium to long term we are able to employ all our staff and protect all our jobs."

The move comes on top of a 10% pay cut across the company in 2009.

Denbigh said a contracting market, over supply of print capacity and downward pressure on print prices was dovetailing with an increase in the cost of resources, leading to a "significant effect on margins."

He added: "We are currently in discussion with staff and unions. It would not be proper to discuss the details while those discussions take place."

Denbigh said the company was "determined to invest in the future of the business" to ensure that it remained competitive and said management held regular meetings with staff to explain business issues.

A spokesman for Unite said: "We will be having talks with the management of Artisan Press after Easter and we won't be commenting until those talks have concluded."

Artisan was named Catalogue Printer of the Year in the 2012 PrintWeek awards after impressing with its work for clients Marks & Spencer, John Lewis and Laura Ashley among others. It won the same award in 2009.

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