The company had been considering a co-location move with nearby sheetfed firm Vega Press, but the deal did not come to fruition.
McPherson’s Mulgrave site will close on 31 January 2013.
According to Opus, the plant’s 10-colour Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 105 will be moved to public sector specialist Canprint in the ACT, while the Heidelberg SM 102 and Roland 305 will be relocated to McPherson’s main book production site in the rural Victorian town of Maryborough.
Sales and administration staff will move to a central Melbourne office, but all of Mulgrave’s shopfloor workers, thought to number around 20, will be made redundant, starting from 12 November.
“There are opportunities for potential re-deployment to other Opus locations at Maryborough, Canberra and Sydney if any employee is interested,” according to the group.
“Management will begin discussions with affected employees immediately in regard to proposed exit dates, and redeployment or relocation options and will comply with all provisions within the relevant site Enterprise Agreement.
“[McPherson’s Printing Group] will make every effort to provide affected employees with practical assistance and support to help them through this difficult period. MPG has held discussions with the AMWU and they will continue to be involved throughout this process.”
Opus said the decision was driven by a desire to “relocate the colour operations and to close the Mulgrave facility”.
Opus acquired McPherson’s in a reverse takeover late last year.
The decision means the end of a proposed move to bring McPherson’s under the same roof as Vega Press in the suburb of Notting Hill.
In July, Opus chief executive Cliff Brigstocke said of the proposed Vega tie-up: “At this stage, we are still working through the fine detail, however, I can say that both parties are very excited by the prospect of working together and, importantly, to be able to offer our customers an enhanced colour solution.”
Lorraine Cassin, national secretary of the AMWU’s print division, told ProPrint that the union was not critical of the decision to close Mulgrave, especially as Opus had done its best to seek out alternative options.
“The Vega venture would have been the saviour but unfortunately that fell through,” she said.
“The AMWU are not critical of McPherson’s and what they are doing. They have to consolidate their business – many other are doing the same – it is just an unfortunate time.
“We just need support around manufacturing in this country; the high dollar is not a good thing,” added Cassin.
In 2009, job security of McPherson’s 270 staff, many of them unionised, became a central focus in the outcry over the ’30-day rule’ negotiations.
Vega Press management would not comment when contacted by ProPrint this morning.
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