Axe hangs over 350 print jobs at DC Thomson

SOME 350 printing jobs are at risk of redundancy as newspaper and magazine publishers, DC Thomson.

The proposed job losses are to involve magazine printing and book binding only and it follows an announcement to staff less than an hour ago.

Said a statement issued by the company: “DC Thomson & Co Ltd, Dundee, today announced it is proposing to close its gravure, sheet-fed printing production and book binding operations in Dundee.

“The proposal means up to 350 jobs are at risk of redundancy and the proposed closure of one of the company’s three sites in the city. No decision has yet been taken on where printing of the affected titles will take place.

“This will not affect its newspaper business. The company will continue to print The Courier, the Evening Telegraph and The Sunday Post for the Scottish market at its Kingsway premises which is also the site for its gravure printing operation. It is proposed that the company’s West Ward site in Guthrie Street would close.”

A spokesman for the company is quoted, saying: “These proposed changes are necessary to ensure a strong future for the business which is proud of its heritage, its association with Dundee and the fine journalism which we produce.

“These are difficult times for the publishing industry, but our publications are still amongst the most successful in their field. However, like others, we are not immune to the economic downturn or market conditions.

“We remain fully committed to our newspapers, magazines and comics business.

“For the last 25 years, DC Thomson unusually has continued to print its own books and magazines despite increasingly difficult market conditions.

“We will do everything we can to minimise the number of compulsory redundancies so we can achieve the change wherever possible through a voluntary arrangement.

“We will be entering into a period of 90 days’ consultation with all those affected.

“Our Glasgow printing operation, where 34 staff left through voluntary severance in March, is not affected by these announcements.”

Said one close observer, who asked to remain anonymous: “This really is a seismic event in the history of Scottish publishing. DC Thomson has never wielded the axe like this. It must be sending shivers through Dundee. [Legendary journalist] James Cameron described DCT’s style of management as ‘benevolent paternalism’. That must feel like an abandoned memory.”

The local SNP MP and MSP expressed their disappointment. Said Stewart Hosie, Dundee East MP: “DC Thomson & Co Ltd are one of the city’s major private sector employers, if not the largest, and have made several acquisitions over recent years.

“They have been a very successful company for a long time with a good reputation amongst their staff and their titles are landmarks and icons in the publishing industry.”

Added Joe FitzPatrick MSP: “It is very disappointing and I am devastated for the staff concerned.

“DC Thomson employ more than 2,000 people in the city and will remain one of the city’s largest private sector employers.

“I understand that the proposal relates to a downturn in the company’s out-printing business. We hope to meet with the company on Friday to discuss these issues and the First Minister has already spoken to the company’s chairman.”

The Tories’ Ted Brocklebank MSP said: “This is a very serious blow for Dundee and the publishing industry in Scotland and yet more evidence of the effects of Labour’s legacy of debt.

“As one who began his journalistic career with DC Thomson in Dundee it seems incredible that such a landmark company should actually be paying people off. I do not remember redundancies on this scale in the many years that I have been following the fortunes of Dundee’s publishing industry.

“Our thoughts go out to the redundant workers and their families and I shall be pressing the government to ensure that all the necessary consultation procedures are being followed.”