Oxford University Press (OUP) is closing its printing arm Oxuniprint Ltd. on 27 August 2021. “It is with sincere regret that we write to inform you that subject to consultation with affected employees it is intended that Oxuniprint Ltd will be closing permanently on 27 August 2021,” the press announced in a statement about the closure of its subsidiary recently.
Oxuniprint Ltd has been a leading Lithographic and Digital B2 printer providing quality print services to both local and national customers for many years. “We are extremely proud of all that we have accomplished and could not be more thankful to you, our valued customers, for the support which we have received,” the note further said. The closure will result in loss of at least 20 jobs. Though the press has said that it would find alternative roles for them, it seems a mute point considering their high level of skill sets and therefore meek possibilities of their placement elsewhere in the press.
Oxuniprint offered both lithographic and digital printing services for the OUP as well as commercial customers in the region.
“From this point up until the date of closure we will no longer be accepting orders to our workbook. Post closure, and subject to consultation with affected employees, during September and October a small team will be working on the reconciliation and settlement of our customer accounts. On behalf of the Oxuniprint team, we would like to thank you for your support over the years and wish your organisation every success for the future,” says the press.
Distraught by the decision, the union Unite blamed the OUP for increasing use of outsourcing abroad and also its failure to take up the government’s furlough scheme. Apparently, OUP has been largely outsourcing its warehouse storage and distribution since 2019. Also its present typesetting work is primarily being done by external suppliers in India and the Philippines. The press had recently announced the closure of its warehouse in Cary in North Carolina. The decision was believed to be made to outsource the work to some external supplier. It will be the first time in its history that none of the output of OUP will be printed in Oxford.
The university’s right to print, which was first recognized in 1586, has since been renowned as a rich heritage in the history of printing quality products. The centuries-old printing history of Oxford University Press will end this summer due to a continued decline in sales exacerbated by factors relating to the pandemic.
Printing in Oxford started with the printing of first book in 1478. There was no formal university press in the city over the next century, till the university’s right to print books was recognised in 1586 and later enhanced in the Great Charter secured by Archbishop Laud from Charles I, entitling it to print “all manner of books”.