Hundreds of Rugby jobs at risk as Penguin reveals plans to close distribution centre - The Rugby Observer

Hundreds of Rugby jobs at risk as Penguin reveals plans to close distribution centre

Rugby Editorial 4th Dec, 2015 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016   0

OVER 250 jobs could be lost at Rugby’s Penguin book distribution centre, which has been threatened with closure.

Publisher Penguin Random House (PRH) blamed the rise in e-book sales when it announced plans to close the centre in Central Park last week.

All 255 employees have been put at risk of redundancy and have entered a consultation period, which could take up to four months.

The proposal, if confirmed, would see the Rugby site close in 2019 with redundancies being phased in from May 2017. The distribution of the company’s books would transfer to one of its other distribution sites, The Book Service, in Frating in 2017/18.




The company said the proposal was made due to “a changing marketplace which has seen a decline in physical book volumes leading to over capacity within the company’s distribution operation”. Around 25 per cent of book sales are now e-books.

PRH UK CEO Tom Weldon said: “This proposal is in no way a reflection of the contributions of all at Rugby, who have always provided an excellent service.


“Proposing to part company with colleagues is never easy. Making this proposal has been a difficult but thoroughly considered and necessary action which we believe will enable us to better match market requirements and continue to deliver the excellent distribution service for which we are known.”

A company statement said those made redundant would be offered generous redundancy packages “significantly higher than the statutory minimum” if the proposal is confirmed.

The company will also offer help in finding new jobs such as converting internal qualifications to recognisable skills, training for CV writing, job hunting, interviewing skills development, liaison with local employers, retirement seminars and pensions support.

The Unite union’s regional officer Peter Coulson said: “The revolution in reading habits, with ebooks becoming more popular, has put these 225 jobs at risk. It is a worrying time for the employees and their families, especially in the run-up to Christmas, and is a real blow to the local economy.

“We are due to meet the management on Tuesday December 15 to discuss the business case for closure and whether there are any options available to keep the Rugby site open.

“We will also be exploring all avenues to assist our members, including the possibility of redeployment and the company’s offer for training and support for those seeking new jobs.”

Unite has just over 100 members at the centre who work as warehouse operatives.

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