Scotland first minister Alex Salmond was due to meet Diageo CEO Paul Walsh today (22 July) over the drinks firm's proposed job cuts in the country.

Scotland's ruling National Party is "seeking assurances" that alternative proposals to Diageo's job cuts plan will be "properly considered" by the drinks giant, said Salmond, ahead of the meeting. 

He and Jack Perry, the head of business development agency Scottish Enterprise, will meet with Walsh and David Gosnell, Diageo's MD of global supply and procurement, to discuss the planned closure of the Johnnie Walker packaging plant in Kilmarnock.

Diageo announced this month that it plans to cut 900 jobs in Scotland, inlcuding 700 by closing the Kilmarnock plant, although the firm has pledged to create an extra 400 jobs at a new packaging site in Fife.

The group, which is the largest Scotch whisky producer, directly employs 4,500 people in the country.

Trade unions, politicians and Scottish Enterprise are working on a counter-proposal to put before Diageo.

"We think that with goodwill on all sides, then movement is possible towards a position which would be better and more acceptable to Scottish opinion, as well as meeting Diageo's key financial objectives," said Salmond.

Local football club Kilmarnock FC is hosting an online petition against Diageo's plan on its website. Fans are being urged to turn the upcoming pre-season friendly with Partick Thistle into a protest against the proposed job cuts.

The petition had more than 10,200 signatures by this morning.