Oxford University Press (OUP) is to close its subsidiary Oxuniprint in August with the loss of 20 jobs.
Oxuniprint is a printer, offering both lithographic and digital printing services for the press and commercial customers in the Oxford area. It is now expected to close its doors on 27th August, in a decision criticised by union Unite.
An OUP spokesperson told The Bookseller: "Subject to consultation with affected employees, it is proposed that Oxuniprint will be closing for business on 27th August 2021. Oxuniprint has provided a valuable service to OUP and to its wide range of clients for many years. We are grateful to the whole team for their hard work and commitment over the years."
A statement on Oxuniprint's website now reads: "We are extremely proud of all that we have accomplished and could not be more thankful to you, our valued customers, for the support which we have received.
"From this point up until the date of closure we will no longer be accepting orders to our workbook. Post closure, and subject to consultation with affected employees, during September and October a small team will be working on the reconciliation and settlement of our customer accounts. On behalf of the Oxuniprint team, we would like to thank you for your support over the years and wish your organisation every success for the future."
Unite blamed OUP’s “increasing use of outsourcing abroad and its failure to take up the government’s furlough scheme” for contributing to the closure of the Kidlington site. It will be the first time in its history that none of the output of OUP will be printed in Oxford.
The union's regional officer Kevin Whiffen said: “This is the final chapter in a distinguished printing history at the OUP, but we feel that there could have been a different outcome if OUP bosses had not been hell-bent on pursuing their outsourcing agenda and the inexplicable failure to utilise the job retention scheme for the Oxuniprint workers. We feel that our members have been badly let down by short-sighted and disloyal decisions of the OUP management towards a dedicated workforce sold out on the altar of outsourcing.
“This decision follows the broader trend of outsourcing currently in progress at OUP. Typesetting work is now done primarily by external suppliers in India and the Philippines, and warehouse storage and distribution has been similarly almost entirely outsourced in the UK since 2019. And the recently announced closure of OUP’s warehouse in Cary in North Carolina is also in order to outsource this work to an external supplier. There is not much loyalty to the centuries-old printing heritage, and those who have given their working lives to it, in this world-renowned university city."