Print firm confirms job losses

A SHATTERED 180-strong workforce are set to have their jobs axed following the loss of a contract to produce The Phone Book for communications giant BT.

A SHATTERED 180-strong workforce are set to have their jobs axed following the loss of a contract to produce The Phone Book for communications giant BT.

Workers at Benhamgoodheadprint (BGP) at the Severalls Industrial Park were given the bleak news yesterday morning after a last-ditch attempt by owners the Goodhead Group to see whether there was some hope of a change of mind by BT.

“I was waiting for the feedback and didn't get that until this morning,” said group managing director of the Goodhead Group John Cooling.

The workforce were told that a statutory 90-day consultation would begin following BT's decision to award its new contract to print The Phone Book to Spanish company Einsa after eight years of being printed at Colchester.


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“The outlook is pretty grim,” said Mr Cooling. “We had a couple of ideas which we thought were still valid, but BT has said their decision is irrevocable.”

The workforce now enters a consultation period while the company sees what alternatives are available to them. The contract is due to end at the end of March.

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The workforce was told that the contract had been lost in December, as soon as the company was aware.

“We are all grown-ups in this, and everybody knows the outlook is bleak. What we didn't know is how many. We were struggling to save as many jobs as we could,” he said.

“We have had the rug pulled from under our feet with such short notice and no way back from it.”

The workforce was “shell-shocked”, he said.

They had approached BT with a reduced cost option, but without success. Now all the jobs effectively appeared to be lost, he said.

“If a miracle happens between now and the end of the consultation period, effectively they have not,” he added. “It doesn't get any worse than this.”

It was a world-class facility, with the latest technology and “brilliant” staff, he said. “I feel awful,” he said. “I have never had to tell 180 people before I'm sorry, we are reaching the end of the road. It's heart-breaking.”

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