Print workers are left in limbo over jobs threat

Nigel Gawthrope outside MPG in Bar Hill. Picture By Duncan Lamont .

Worried workers at a Cambridgeshire publishing firm are still waiting to find out if they will lose their jobs.

Employees at MPG Printgroup at Bar Hill revealed a week ago that the company – which took over the historic printing business of Cambridge University Press less than a year ago – was about to go into administration.

They say they have now been told that the gates of the Trafalgar Way plant will be locked later today – and that they will not be asked to come back after they finish their shift.

But there has been no public statement confirming this from the company, nor any announcement about the future of the business.

Nearly 70 people work at the Bar Hill printworks, which has sister plants at King’s Lynn and Bodmin in Cornwall.

The News has contacted the head office of MPG in Cornwall – and a recorded message there says the offices are closed. None of the company’s senior managers is answering their direct lines.

One of the Bar Hill employees, who did not want to be named, said: “We’re just not being told anything about what’s going on, other than that the gates are going to be locked on Friday, and we’re not to come back in next week.

“People just want to know whether the company is going into administration or not, and what the future is for their jobs.”

Suppliers and contractors linked to MPG are also on tenterhooks.

J Singh Transport, based at Colne near St Ives, runs seven lorries and manager Jaspal Singh said the company had a contract with MPG to deliver printed material.

Mr Singh said: “We are owed £17,000 for work we have done, and I’m very concerned about the future of our own business if we don’t get it. We employ 10 people, we’re only a small company, so something like this hits us very hard indeed.”

Nigel Gawthrope, Unite union official for MPG, said: “We have had a letter from the local manager at the print works saying it is “with regret” that MPG cannot pay its employees beyond May 31, and that they are not required to report to work after that date. It adds an administrator is expected to be appointed next week.

“We need to know who that is as soon as possible, so that we can speak to them and find out if there’s any prospect of selling on the company to a new owner, and saving jobs.”

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