Diageo to axe 100 Scottish jobs

Cornelia Mascio
Aprile 20, 2017

Drinks giant Diageo is to cut more than 100 jobs across its Scottish operations due to concerns over Brexit, according to the GMB union.

There are now 500 workers at Shieldhall, in south-west Glasgow, and 800 at Leven in Fife.

GMB Scotland earlier this year warned the United Kingdom government's Scottish Secretary David Mundell about the need for special measures to protect Scotland's drinks manufacturing sector against the backdrop of Brexit uncertainty.

GMB Scotland Organiser Louise Gilmour said: "Over one hundred skilled workers are now facing unemployment because Diageo are hedging their bets over Brexit - there is absolutely no getting away from this".

Diageo, the world's largest spirits maker and home to Johnnie Walker Scotch, Smirnoff vodka and Tanqueray gin, said on Thursday that it reviewed its European bottling plant footprint following the disposal of its wine business and subsequent end of wine bottling contracts.

"Instead of listening to the real concerns of working people and acting on them, the Tories are off on the election trail asking voters to back them over Brexit but the harsh realities of the decision to withdraw from the European Union are already taking hold". Diageo is moving some of its white spirits production in Scotland to its Santa Vittoria plant in Italy as well as plants in the US.

"We will now enter a period of consultation with our employees and their representatives to discuss this and all these proposals of the business in greater detail", a Diageo spokeswoman said. "The outcomes of this review will ensure we have the flexibility to respond to increased competition and external volatility, alongside testing and building the capability we need across our global supply chain to grow our brands".

SNP MSP Jenny Gilruth, who represents Leven, said: "The suggestion by the GMB union that it had warned David Mundell over the need to take action to protect Scotland's drinks manufacturers against Brexit long before this announcement is yet another sign that he is happy to support the Tories' Brexit plans no matter the damage they will inflict on our communities and economy".

The union will "do everything it possibly can to mitigate these cuts" and will "refuse to accept any compulsory redundancies".

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