UK: Minister to lead Diageo whisky jobs summit

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Scotland's finance minister is to lead a meeting of trade unions, politicians and business promoters to offer Diageo an alternative to its plan to cut 10% of its Scotch whisky workforce.

Finance secretary John Swinney will host the meeting tonight (19 August), with critics of Diageo's plan from across the political spectrum expected to attend, alongside unions, councils and business development agency Scottish Enterprise.

Discussion will focus on a business report compiled by leading accountancy firm BDO Stoy Hayward, in order to help the group devise an alternative business plan for Diageo.

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.

"This meeting is a crucial step forward and demonstrates the substantial case against Diageo's proposed job cuts in Scotland is gaining real momentum," said Swinney, a member of Scotland's ruling National Party, which has vehemently opposed Diageo's cuts.

Exact details of the BDO Stoy Hayward report will not be made public. because of their commercially sensitive nature.

Diageo told just-drinks previously that it had agreed to supply business information to Stoy Hayward and "will listen to alternative proposals, which sustain its operations and investment in Scotch and Scotland for the long term".

The drinks giant, which employs around 4,500 people in Scotland, has pledged that no compulsory redundancies will be made for 12 months. It plans to create 400 new jobs at its packaging facility near Fife.

"Diageo is fully aware of the strength of feeling surrounding the company's restructuring proposals," said a company spokesperson. 


Sectors: Spirits

Companies: Diageo, Johnnie Walker

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