Scotland: Union calls for MPs to unite against Diageo job cuts

15 July, 2009

Scotland: UK union Unite has urged Scotland's politicians to join the battle against Diageo’s job cuts. 

900 workers at Diageo’s Scottish outpost, which produces brands including Johnnie Walker whisky, are to lose their jobs if the company’s plans to close both plants in Kilmarnock and Port Dundas, and cut jobs in Shieldhall go ahead.  In addition, the company proposes to transfer 64 jobs in Hurlford to a third-party logistic firm.

Unite, which represents Diageo workers, is urging politicians from across Scotland to  join their fight to save Diageo jobs.

Unite is writing directly to politicians across all parties in Scotland.

Len McCluskey, Unite assistant general secretary, said:  “Our members are standing up to Diageo bosses in their fight to save jobs and to save a big part of Scottish heritage.

“The support of MPs to workers as they fight for a future will be welcome because now is the time to pull together.  But the task we face is immense which is why we are urging all MSPs and MPs to get behind the Unite-led campaign for alternative proposals that keep Diageo jobs in Scotland.

“Diageo is an internationally renowned name.  It must not tarnish that good name by being responsible for consigning entire Scottish communities to the dustbin so I appeal to them now to work with Unite to save the jobs of its loyal workforce today, and the jobs for their sons and daughters tomorrow."

Diageo announced restructure plans at the beginning of the month. The plans – backed by a £100 million investment – will mean an overall reduction of up to 500 jobs in Scotland. The closure of Diageo sites in Kilmarnock and at Port Dundas in Glasgow will lead to the loss of up to 900 jobs over the next two years but the company said that around 400 new jobs will be created through the expansion of a packaging plant in Fife. A new coopering centre will be created in Clackmannanshire.

There would be no compulsory redundancies at impacted sites for 12 months. 

A spokesperson for Diageo said: “We are now in a formal consultation process with our employees and their representatives. This will involve - in the first case – looking the rationale for the proposals.

“However, our proposal to restructure our business in Scotland has been reached after a significant amount of analysis and examination of different options. We believe that the plan we have put forward is right for the long-term sustainability and competitiveness of our business in Scotland.”


Nick Strangeway

Bottled cocktails: The dos and don'ts

Pre-made cocktails have always carried a stigma, which I find odd. The romance of watching bartenders make drinks from scratch left pre-batched cocktails feeling cheap to many consumers, but lockdowns have forced this attitude to change.