UK: Whyte & Mackay warns of job cuts

By | 4 August 2009

Whyte & Mackay has confirmed that it is likely to cut its workforce by almost 15%.

The Scotch whisky company, which is owned by India's United Spirits, said today (4 August) that it is in the process of a "major review" of its organisation, which could lead to the loss of up to 85 jobs.

While the job cuts will affect Whyte & Mackay's Scottish workforce, up to 15 members of the company's sales team outside the country may also be affected.

The news comes a month after Diageo announced that it plans to cut more than 10% of its Scotch whisky workforce.

Glasgow-based Whyte & Mackay, which has 574 employees, has entered into formal consultation for the next month to review its options and look at ways of minimising the number of compulsory redundancies.

The company has held meetings over the last week with the relevant Scottish Government ministers and officials, including the First Minister Alex Salmond. Opposition parties, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Development International, and Highland and Islands Enterprise have also been briefed on the situation.

"It is with regret that I have to announce this review and the planned job losses," said chief executive John Beard. "It will come as no surprise to anybody that a combination of the world wide economic situation and the punitive UK legislative climate means that only the fittest alcoholic drink companies will survive. For Whyte & Mackay this means taking the painful decision to review our structures and costs."

Beard noted, however, that, while the move would impact all seven of Whyte & Mackay's Scottish locations, there would be no site closures.

"We are hopeful that this difficult decision will ensure Whyte & Mackay has a sustainable future going forward, leaving us in a strong position to grow when the UK and global economy improves," Beard added.

Whyte & Mackay owner United Spirits is in the middle of a deleveraging process, devised to help it pay back a US$625m loan used to acquire Whyte & Mackay for $1.18bn in 2007.

Sectors: Spirits

Companies: Whyte & Mackay, United Spirits, Diageo, John Beard

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