Page last updated at 21:06 GMT, Friday, 2 May 2008 22:06 UK

Demonstation by sacked printers

Company boss Mike Dolan blamed union industrial action for the closure

A mass demonstration in support of sacked Somerset print workers has taken place in Frome.

The 287 staff at Frome-based Butler and Tanner received redundancy notices last Saturday. They are owed nearly 400,000 in wages and pensions contributions.

The factory gates remain shut and manned by security guards but some of the sacked staff claim work has restarted inside with agency staff.

But chairman Mike Dolan "categorically denied" this was the case.

'Finances withdrawn'

Parent company Media & Print Investments Plc (MPI) blamed the difficulties on a threat by the trade union Unite to take strike action over new contracts.

It said the union's failure to resolve working practices meant finances had been withdrawn.

Redundancy letters sent out to the workforce last Saturday said the company was going into a Creditors' Voluntary Liquidation

Workers marched through the town to get answers to the question of where their money had gone

They marched through Frome from North Parade car park through the High Street to the factory.

Becky Allan, whose husband worked for the company for 18 months, said they did not realise how bad the situation at the factory had got until the Wednesday before the closure was announced

"I thought we might have got a few months notice of the company winding down but not not this quickly.

"We have to find different income we've talked a lot but it hasn't really sunk in yet.

"Hopefully in a month's time we'll know what is happening."

Unite said it hoped the demonstration would get the message through to Mr Dolan

Staff have been maintaining a picket outside the firm since last Saturday after receiving the news.

Mr Dolan would not be interviewed but said Butler and Tanner was history.

When asked about the money the workers are owed - including the pension contributions - he said the workforce would be treated as preferential creditors once the company is wound-up and that was the only route they would get their money.

Butler and Tanner produces hardback colour books including those of Jamie Oliver, Delia Smith and Nigella Lawson.

Demo over sacking of print staff
02 May 08 |  Somerset
MP's fury over sacked print staff
29 Apr 08 |  Somerset
Sacked printers fight redundancy
27 Apr 08 |  Somerset
Hundreds of print staff lose jobs
26 Apr 08 |  Somerset

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