A TOTAL of 38 jobs is set to disappear after a design and printing company told staff it was proposing to shut down its Taunton operation.
Service Graphics, which operates locally from a Crown Industrial Estate unit in Venture Way, Priorswood, says the shutdown was caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
A letter to Taunton employees – seen by the County Gazette – reads: “Due to continued business pressure from Paragon Service Graphics business caused primarily by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Service Graphics management team has approved a proposal to relocate the operation’s facilities around four sites, Brentford, Chippenham, Glasgow and Skelmersdale.
“This proposal will result in a ‘workplace’ layoff for all 38 employees employed at the Taunton facility.
“Under these proposals, all operations will cease at Taunton and the proposals will only affect the Taunton site.
“It is proposed that the transfer of operations and the shutdown of the Taunton facility be concluded by February 2022.”
The letter adds that the decision is expected to lead to the creation of 16 “new operational roles” for which Taunton staff are encouraged to apply.
A Taunton employee, who asked not to be named, said he doubted anyone would apply for the new roles.
They added: “Shame on them (Service Graphics). They are giving Covid-19 as an excuse, but they have made millions selling face covers and signs for Covid.”
General Manager Martin Hutchings has written to staff.
In his message, he said: “I fully appreciate the distress and concern this announcement will cause, but the termination proposal was not made lightly and has been the subject of much deliberation.
“I understand this will inevitably lead to a time of uncertainty and also some distress with so many positions at risk.
“The proposed layoffs also do not reflect the efforts of employees at the Taunton site – it is a thoughtful response to the extreme business conditions we anticipate in the future.
“We believe these changes will help ensure the long-term viability of the company.”
Parent company Paragon bought the business, then known as Magenta Print and Display, from Debenhams in December 2018 before the retailer ceased operations.
At the time, Magenta employed 73 people and produced 2D and 3D promotional material for Debenhams as well as for third party customers.
Gazatte County has contacted the company for comment.