30 print workers face axe


Shane Brennan

STAFF at a major employer were left ‘gutted’ at news a third of the staff could lose their jobs.

Up to 30 workers at Dobson and Crowther printers in Llangollen are facing redundancy, according to the Unite union.

Staff, who are understood to have been told the news by company bosses last week, were left shell-shocked.

It comes three months after workers agreed to give up 7.3 per cent of their wages to tide the company – which is Llangollen’s biggest employer, with 95 staff – through its financial problems.

According to company bosses the loss of a major contract is to blame for the jobs cuts.

Paul Holden, managing director, said the reduction in revenue as a result meant the firm would not be able to sustain current workforce numbers. He said it is too early to know how many posts will be axed.

Chris Tobin, a union shop steward and member of staff, told the Free Press: “Everyone’s obviously gutted, the news shocked everyone. It’s a massive blow.

“We’ve done what we can over the last couple of years and helped the company by taking a pay cut and a freeze in pension payments.

“The workforce have given everything they can and I think the company would back that. Lots of workers have been here 30 or 40 years. I’ve been here 36 years myself.

“We want to see Dobson and Crowther have a future but losing a significant proportion of a major contract and the significant drop in orders will make it very hard.”

The Unite Union has contacted Welsh Assembly member for Clwyd South, Ken Skates, over the need for a package to assist the firm, which is the UK’s largest manufacturer of litho printed envelopes, producing more than half-a-billion
envelopes a year for the direct mail industry.

Unite’s regional officer Tony Brady said: “The news up to 30 jobs could be lost is devastating for the workforce at the town’s biggest employer and also for their families.This area can’t afford to lose these jobs and it is a hammer blow to the local economy.”

He added: “The company will lose its biggest contract in April and there is a question mark over whether it will be able to afford the enhanced redundancy terms.

“However, Unite will be campaigning hard to save these jobs and working with all parties to support employment at Dobson and Crowther.”

The 30-day redundancy consultation process starts today.

Mr Holden said: “The company has lost a substantial contract and as a consequence the loss of revenue means we will not be able to sustain current workforce numbers.

“We explained to the union that while we are not yet clear as to the full extent of any headcount reductions we would notify the union as soon as we were in a position to table formal proposals.

“We intend to consult the union and other employee representatives in the proper manner in accordance with our legal obligations.

“In spite of the lost contract, effective from April 2014, the underlying business is robust and remains strong enough to support the majority of our workforce.

“We appreciate this will be a challenging and uncertain period for all our employees
and their families. We hope, however, that with the support and cooperation of the union and the workforce as a whole we will secure the future of the Dobson and
Crowther business in Llangollen, which has been our home since 1946.”

 The company are set to move into a new printworks later this year to make way for a Sainsbury’s supermarket to be built on their current site off Berwyn Street.

A turf-cutting ceremony on the new factory site in Climedw, which was due to take place on Friday, was cancelled.

Llangollen councillor Stuart Davies said: “It is very sad news. If it is true it has been down to a big contract being lost then it is a case of market forces playing their part.”

See full story in the Free Press

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