KM Group plans to cut more jobs

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Clubs Round-up -

THE fam­ily-owned KM Group, pub­lisher of this news­pa­per, has an­nounced the sec­ond phase of its ma­jor re­struc­tur­ing plan.

The plan in­volves con­sul­ta­tion with staff in over 95 roles at risk, as well as a fur­ther 64 roles af­fected by out­sourc­ing.

The com­pany, which runs lo­cal news­pa­pers, web­sites and ra­dio sta­tions across Kent, says the eco­nomic cli­mate has de­te­ri­o­rated since phase one of the re­struc­tur­ing in the au­tumn.

In its state­ment to staff, the com­pany said it had to take action “to sur­vive and thrive” in cur­rent and fu­ture mar­kets.

The group is plan­ning to out­source its print­ing, mail­room and news­pa­per and leaflet dis­tri­bu­tion op­er­a­tions, and close two of its offices.

Man­agers are con­sult­ing all the staff af­fected by the pro­pos­als. The com­pany will of­fer pro­fes­sional sup­port and help to those at risk of los­ing their jobs.

Manag­ing di­rec­tor Gra­ham Mead said the com­pany had no op­tion but to move to the next stage of its re­struc­ture plan.

He said: “If we had any other op­tion but re­dun­dan­cies we would take it, but the re­al­ity is that we have to re­struc­ture our busi­ness to be able to op­er­ate ef­fi­ciently in this chal­leng­ing en­vi­ron­ment and to po­si­tion our­selves for the fu­ture.’’

“We will still have about 400 staff and be­lieve we will still pro­vide the best me­dia ser­vice in Kent for all of our read­ers, lis­ten­ers, vis­i­tors and cus­tomers.”

Chair­man Geral­dine Allinson said the mea­sures were nec­es­sary for the com­pany’s fu­ture.

“As I said last year, we hate to make any­one re­dun­dant but we re­ally have no al­ter­na­tive given the cur­rent state of the econ­omy.

“Our pro­posal to out­source our print­ing was a par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult one to make with the com­pany’s long and suc­cess­ful his­tory of print­ing our own ti­tles.”

The offices that are put for­ward for clo­sure in the con­sul­ta­tion are Folke­stone and Thanet. The com­pany plans to serve those towns from their other ex­ist­ing offices in Ash­ford and Whit­stable. All the com­pany’s news­pa­pers, web­sites and ra­dio sta­tions would con­tinue to be pro­duced un­der the pro­pos­als. The con­sul­ta­tion will go on un­til April.

KM Group’s news­pa­pers have a weekly read­er­ship of 861,000. The group’s seven kmfm ra­dio sta­tions have a to­tal of 161,000 lis­ten­ers a week. Its web­sites have more than 200,000 unique vis­i­tors ev­ery month.

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