Union, GMB Scotland has accused the government of ‘a gross betrayal’ after Diageo’s announcement that it plans to cut over 100 jobs across its Scottish operation.
Workers and trade unions were informed on Thursday of the cuts, which will include 70 job losses at Diageo’s Leven plant in Fife, and a further 35 at its Shieldhall site, near Glasgow. Spirits bottling is to be moved to its factory in Santa Vittoria D’Alba and the US. The company has now entered a consultation period with employees.
In a statement, the company said: ‘The review of our sourcing footprint is both for the processing and the bottling of spirits in Europe.
‘The outcomes of this review will ensure we have the flexibility to respond to increased competition and external volatility, alongside testing and building the capability we need across our global supply chain to grow our brands.
‘We are committed to our three spirits bottling sites in Europe – two in Scotland and one in Italy.’
However GMB, which represents spirits workers in Scotland, said it previously warned the UK government’s Scottish secretary David Mundell earlier this year about the need for special measures to protect Scotland’s drinks manufacturing sector against the backdrop of Brexit uncertainty.
GMB Scotland organiser Louise Gilmour, said: ‘Over one hundred skilled workers are now facing unemployment because Diageo are hedging their bets over Brexit – there is absolutely no getting away from this.
‘We warned David Mundell and the UK government about the possible impact of Brexit on the future of jobs across our drinks manufacturing sector and about the need for protective measures to safeguard an industry worth billions to the Scottish and UK economies.’
Union representatives are scheduled to meet Diageo senior executives early next week where redundancy time frames are expected to be confirmed.
Gilmour added: ‘GMB will do everything it possibly can to mitigate these cuts and we will refuse to accept any compulsory redundancies but let’s be clear that the UK government has been asleep at the wheel over Brexit and it’s evidenced in these cuts today.’