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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

If a layoff goes down and no one hears . . .


The e-mail to The London Free Press failed. Using Twitter, I publicized the layoff.

I have it on good authority that Sun Media informed its staff at the former Bowes Publishers operation in northwest London that a major layoff will take place at the end of the month (May 2014).

Reportedly someone from The London Free Press made the announcement to a staff left shocked by the news. Many of those working at the facility on Gainsborough Road just west of Hyde Park Road had felt their jobs were secure. Just hours before the announcement one staffer had signed on the dotted line to buy a new house. Now, that sale has been scuttled.

How many jobs are being loss? I have heard numbers ranging as high as thirty. That's a lot of good, jobs -- well paying jobs. This is but another blow to the  London economy which has not recovered from the recession now officially some years in the past.

Jim Bowes worked for The London Free Press and branched out into publishing in his off hours. With his publishing business flourishing, Walter Blackburn, Free Press owner, gave Bowes a choice. Either work for The Free Press or leave and devote all his time to his own expanding publishing business. Bowes left the paper and, in the end, left London.

Bowes moved to Grande Prairie, Alberta, where he added the weekly Herald Tribune to his growing chain of small newspapers and niche publications. At the same time, he kept his publishing operation in London going and growing. By 1988, when Sun Media Corporation acquired a 60 percent interest, Bowes Publishers had 22 business units. Two years later Sun Media took complete control of the now not-so-little publishing operation started in London, Ontario. And now Sun Media is slashing employment at the London facility and moving many, if not most, of the work to Barrie.

What do Londoners think of this sad turn of events? Nothing. Most have no clue that it is even happening. It may have been a honcho from The Free Press who announced the layoff to the Hyde Park workers but the paper has been strangely mum about the impending layoff when it comes to informing the public.

I have called the paper and left messages. I have send a tweet hoping Hank Daniszewski, the business reporter, would notice. Nothing. No response. (To be completely accurate, a local Londoner who seems to stay abreast of everything retweeted my Twitter post. Score one for a very alert Butch McLarty.)

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