Page last updated at 17:48 GMT, Tuesday, 5 May 2009 18:48 UK

Newspaper printing jobs at risk

Almost 40 jobs are at risk after a Cumbria-based media company announced restructuring plans.

CN Group wants to close its print plant in Barrow, where the North West Evening Mail is published, and relocate the operation to Carlisle.

If the move goes ahead, 31 jobs will be lost in Barrow. Five posts are at risk at the Hexham Courant, also published by the firm, and one at Carlisle.

The changes will have a minimum effect on content, said the firm.

Employee Tony Pritchard said the announcement had come as a shock to staff at the Barrow plant.

The 55-year-old reel handler said: "Like most people here, I don't think these plans have been thought through properly.

We were just told the plant was shutting. No-one saw this coming
Tony Pritchard, employee

"They haven't exhausted all avenues, they are just saying we're losing money - let's shut.

"We were given no warning. We were told to turn up in the office on Friday afternoon, and we were expecting to be given reduced hours.

"But we were just told the plant was shutting. No-one saw this coming."

Mr Pritchard also claimed that the Carlisle plant has an earlier print deadline, meaning stories breaking after 0800 BST would not make it into that day's Evening Mail.

The Barrow plant has a final deadline of about 1245 BST, he said.

'Very sad'

Newspapers published by CN Group include the Carlisle News and Star, Times and Star and the Cumberland News.

Chief executive Robin Burgess said: "The original and proposed changes have been done in such a way to ensure all the group's titles are still being published and there is a minimal effect on content.

"It is very sad to be making this announcement, but if the proposals go forward it will ensure we are well placed to withstand the recession and take advantage of the recovery when it comes."

The company says the plans will save £1.5m in a year, and create four positions in Carlisle.

CN Group also operates radio stations in the Midlands, Lancashire, the Lake District and Northern Ireland.

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