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Drinks giant Diageo cuts more than 100 jobs in Scotland

Redundancies will be made at sites in Leven, Fife, and Shieldhall near Glasgow.

Diageo: Some white spirits production will be moved to Italy and the US (file pic).
Diageo: Some white spirits production will be moved to Italy and the US (file pic). PA

Drinks giant Diageo is to cut more than 100 jobs across its Scottish operations, unions have claimed.

Workers were told 70 redundancies will be made at Diageo's Leven plant in Fife and a further 35 its Shieldhall site near Glasgow.

Selected white spirits production will be moved to the company's Santa Vittoria plant in Italy and to plants in the United States.

The firm said the move was prompted by a review of its bottling operations after disposing of its wine business.

On Thursday, Unite the union criticised the management of the drinks firm, which it said is "not short of cash".

Unite regional officer Pat McIlvogue said: "This is a shocking betrayal of Scottish workers. Diageo isn't proposing cutting the volume of what it produces - the work will still have be done somewhere.

"But it's telling Scottish workers that they're not the ones that are going to be doing it.

"Scotland has been very good to Diageo. The company makes massive profits because of its association with Scotch whisky. "

'This is not a company short of cash. There is absolutely no justification for Diageo to turn its back on Scottish workers and leave scores of them without a livelihood.'
Unite regional officer Pat McIlvogue

He added: "Leven and Shieldhall are some of the most efficient, productive drinks facilities in the world. Shieldhall has been awarded Diageo's global plant of the year award.

"Workers in Scotland help make massive eye-watering profits for Diageo - for the six months to 31 December last year it made an incredible £2.1bn. That was 16% on the previous year.

"This is not a company that is short of cash. There is absolutely no justification for Diageo to turn its back on Scottish workers and leave scores of them without a livelihood."

The union said it will be meeting with representatives from the company on Tuesday.

Diageo produces several of the world's biggest brands of spirits including Johnnie Walker whisky, Smirnoff vodka and Baileys Irish cream.

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.

"This is a gross betrayal of Scottish workers who have contributed significantly to the remarkable success of Diageo and to the massive economic dividend our economy receives from whisky and white spirits manufacturing."

A Diageo spokesman said: "Following the disposal of our wine business and the subsequent end of the wine bottling contracts, we have reviewed our spirits bottling footprint to ensure we not only deliver leading performance for both our domestic and export supply chains around the world, but also to strengthen our business for the future.

"Regrettably, these changes may impact some roles in our European bottling plants towards the end of the year and we will now enter a period of consultation with our employees and their representatives to discuss the proposals in more detail.

"We are committed to our three spirits bottling sites in Europe - two in Scotland and one in Italy. 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."

SNP MSP Jenny Gilruth, who represents Leven, said: "This announcement by Diageo is concerning and will cause great uncertainty for many people in our communities throughout Fife - and it is doubly concerning that these possible redundancies appear to be down to Brexit. 

"I would like to make clear to all constituents affected by this announcement that my office is happy to assist them in any way possible during the planned consultation period - and the Scottish Government will do all it can to support the workers facing redundancy."

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