150 posts earmarked for redundancy at DC Thomson

ONE hundred and fifty-four posts have been earmarked for redundancy at DC Thomson, the publishers of The Courier and The Sunday Post newspapers – with the net jobs loss expected to be below 95, following redeployment.

Says a memo to staff, affected areas are in the likes of transport and photosetting, and follows an investment in new print technology and ‘active consideration’ of using third parties to distribute the company’s titles, which also includes an extensive portfolio of magazines and comics.

The posts at risk are located in Dundee.

Company chair, Andrew F. Thomson, says, in the memo: “As you know, we have been working hard to assess how our business can meet the challenges of the dramatic changes in the publishing industry and the turbulent economy.

“Following careful consideration of all aspects, we have chosen to invest more than £25million in the new [printing] plant in Kingsway and reshape our Meadowside operation [offices in Dundee city centre, which are about to be renovated] which – alongside other changes we’re making – should stand us in good stead for the future. The cost of producing and distributing our titles to market is ever-increasing, which is why we’ve made the decision to invest and modernise, rather than to see our business decline.

“All of these changes will have an impact on everyone at the company, but specifically those directly affected by this modernisation. We have announced our intention to enter into consultation with Dundee staff members in production, transport and distribution, facilities, circulation, the programme management office, photosetting, digital print and the front counter of the Meadowside retail shop.

“The new production investment requires very different staffing levels; we’re actively considering having third parties distribute our titles; and the move to just one Dundee office base, combined with upgraded technology, will change the needs of the business.

“In total, there are up to 154 positions at risk, and, as a result, we felt we should tell everyone potentially affected about our plans immediately. In total, fewer than 95 people will leave the business as there will be a significant number of new roles available.”

A spokesperson told allmediascotland that no editorial posts are involved and that none of the titles will be “affected”. It is being presented as a restructuring, as opposed to a closing of any of the operations.

Two years ago, DC Thomson shed 346 posts in magazine printing and book binding, following closure of these functions.

Continues the memo: “All of the revised methods will result in a different way of working for some areas of the company, but in doing this, we will be fit to grow and thrive. The past we have come from is dramatically different to the environment we are in today, so our business needs to change to meet tomorrow’s demands.

“We do appreciate that this is a very unsettling period for those affected by these changes, and we will do everything possible to support the staff members affected by these proposals. This includes conducting individual consultation meetings, creating a job shop facility to help with job search and training and careers advice for those who are leaving the company. Everyone who is at risk will have been advised by letter.

“The new investment will provide exciting new job opportunities, and we’re committed to put in whatever training is needed to help as many of our existing staff potentially affected by the changes to re-skill and fill these new positions. To help us do this, external training providers will work with us to train and assess our employees to deliver the new, multi-skilled workforce structure required to support production and facilities. Staff members in all locations are eligible to apply. This way, we can minimise the number of compulsory redundancies wherever possible, either by re-skilling applicants to new positions, or through voluntary redundancy.”