Unite union vows to fight job losses at Bungay book printer Clays

Bungay book printer Clays Ltd.
PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Bungay book printer Clays Ltd. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Britain’s biggest trade union says it will “fight every step of the way” to protect its members at Suffolk book printer Clays after the company confirmed plans for redundancies.

Bungay book printer Clays Ltd.
PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Bungay book printer Clays Ltd. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Bungay-based Clays is understood to have written to around 120 employees warning of potential job cuts after losing a major contract.

The Unite union has about 550 members at Clays, representing a substantial majority of the firm’s total workforce which is thought to number around 700. The union says the roles at risk of redundancy are mainly on the shop floor, in the pre-press, print and bindery departments.

Unite regional officer Mark Walker said: “Clays is the heart of the local community in Bungay and Unite members are the heart of Clays. This is a highly skilled and loyal workforce that is understandably concerned about job security in these economically challenging times.

“Unite has entered into a statutory period of collective consultation with management and will fight every step of the way to secure terms and conditions, and avoid compulsory redundancies.”


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He added: “We want to mitigate the impact of any job losses and we will be mounting the strongest possible defence of our members’ jobs.”

Clays, which is part of the print and marketing services group St Ives, confirmed in a statement that redundancy proposals had been announced.

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It said: “After a lengthy period of market share gain, Clays has recently been informed by one of its customers that they will be transferring their book production contract to an alternative supplier.

“As a direct consequence of this decision, Clays management have announced redundancy proposals on which they will be consulting with all employees affected.”

Clays managing director Paul Hulley added: “We are understandably disappointed with this news. We will work with all employees affected to find the best possible outcome.”

According to a report on the PrintWeek website, publisher HarperCollins has decided not to renew a contract with St Ives for the production of monochrome books which is due to expire on June 30, resulting in a multi-million pound hit to the group’s sales and profits. PrintWeek believes that rival book printer CPI Group has won the work.

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