June looks set to be the month of the hard sells

Darryl Danielli
Wednesday, June 13, 2012

It's hard to imagine a combination of words that is likely to cause hearts in the web offset community to sink as fast as 'web-offset' and 'supersite' - except, perhaps for 'paper', 'price' and 'increases', of course.

However, Polestar’s hopes to be able to persuade its owner, Sun Capital, to bankroll a substantial re-equip and to create a facility with two 80pp presses at its heart seem to fly in the face of its strategy of reducing capacity.

Of course, it’s probably safe to assume that the plans won’t hinge on adding capacity, and will simply replace its current firepower with a more efficient set-up – but I should imagine even that would be a pretty tough sell to Sun.

An equally hard sell, to the staff at least, appears to be the MPG’s proposed deal to take on the printing of Cambridge University Press, the world’s oldest print company. According to sources, following an initial meeting, many of CUP’s staff appear to prefer the prospect of voluntary redundancy to losing two days’ holiday and a number of other benefits, such as a profit-share scheme and staff canteen, and the prospect of being retrained in the art of digital printing.

The deal comes three years after workers, with the support of the union, fought tooth and nail against proposals to slash the workforce from 170 to just 40. A fight they ultimately won after CUP agreed to 48 job cuts, rather than the proposed 133.

So what’s happened in the intervening years that has resulted in them preferring to walk away from jobs they battled so hard to keep?


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