Trade unions and politicians have hit a setback in their campaign to stop Diageo cutting 10% of its Scotch whisky workforce, after an independent report said not all jobs can be saved, just-drinks has learned.

Consultancy group BDO Stoy Hayward has been asked to "go back and research more positive alternatives" to Diageo's job cuts plan, a source close to the situation told just-drinks today (20 August).

An initial report provided two alternatives to Diageo's proposal, but indicated that job losses at the firm were inevitable.

An alliance of politicians, trade unions and business development agency Scottish Enterprise yesterday examined Stoy Hayward's report at a meeting chaired by Scottish finance secretary John Swinney.

The group has pledged to use the report, compiled with the help of business information supplied by Diageo, to devise an alternative strategy for the drinks giant.

However, the first daft report handed out yesterday "doesn't make the best of reading", a source close to the opposition group said.

Tensions are running high over Diageo's plan to cut 900 jobs in Scotland and there have been at least two large street protests in Kilmarnock, where 700 of the jobs are to be cut due to the closure of the town's Johnnie Walker packaging plant.

A spokesperson for Scottish Enterpise today declined to comment on the content of the Stoy Hayward report, due to its use of "commercially sensitive" information, but emphasised that it remains "very very much a draft proposal".         

It is still the group's intention to compile an alternative business plan for Diageo "as speedily as possible", she added.

Scottish finance secretary Swinney said following the meeting: "There were many comments from members of the taskforce which will be fed in to the report as it is developed and refined."

He added: "The task now is to take the evidence we have received from the consultants to build the alternative proposition, which Scottish Enterprise are now taking forward."

Union officials are set to hold talks with senior Diageo executives on Monday (24 August).

Diageo, which employs 4,500 people in Scotland, has said it "will listen to alternative proposals, which sustain its operations and investment in Scotch and Scotland for the long term".

The group said there would be no compulsory redundancies for 12 months and that 400 new jobs will created at its packaging site near Fife.