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Unite accuses drinks giant of threatening workers

Unite accuses drinks giant of threatening workers

26 April 2017

Unite the union has accused drinks giant Diageo of planning to move work out of Scotland just to threaten workers.

At a meeting with the multinational company yesterday (Tue 25 Apr), Unite pushed for more details of Diageo’s plans to move white spirit bottling from Leven in Fife and Shieldhall in Glasgow, with a cost of over 100 jobs. 

Diageo plans to move bottling to its Santa Vittoria plant in Italy, and also plans to trial production of Smirnoff Vodka in the United States.

Today (Wed 26 Apr), the company’s plans were condemned by the Scottish TUC Annual Congress in Aviemore. 

Unite regional officer Pat McIlvogue said: “We’re becoming more and more concerned that Diageo’s plans aren’t about saving money, but just about threatening Scottish workers and putting pressure on them. 

“We’re not convinced that moving bottling to Italy will save the company anything, and we believe the plans to move Smirnoff production will actually cost the company more. 

“We believe Diageo wants to divide and rule, by moving work around the globe to make Scottish workers afraid for their jobs. 

“That’s shameful. Diageo makes massive profits because of its association with Scotland. The infrastructure for making whisky has allowed Diageo to make efficiency savings when it comes to producing and bottling white spirits. Leven and Shieldhall are some of the most efficient, productive drinks facilities in the world. 

“Workers in Scotland help make massive, eye-watering, profits for Diageo - for the six months to December last year it made an incredible £2.1 billion. That was 16 per cent up on the previous year. This is a shocking betrayal.”

At the STUC Congress today, delegates voted unanimously in favour of an emergency motion, strongly opposing compulsory redundancies at Diageo’s Scottish bottling plants, and calling on the company to reconsider its planned cuts in favour of negotiation and constructive engagement with the workforce. 

Diageo’s plans would lead to the loss of around 70 jobs from its site at Leven and around 35 at Shieldhall. 

ENDS

Notes to editors

For more information contact Unite Scotland press officer David Eyre on 07960 451631 / david.eyre@unitetheunion.org