Unions and politicians step up fight to save Scottish Diageo jobs

From The Publican

By Hamish Champ , 26-Aug-2009

Related topics: General News, Company & City News

Scottish trade unions, politicians and local authorities have met with finance minister John Swinney to draw up plans to fight Diageo's proposed plant closures in Glasgow and Kilmarnock.


A taskforce of workers and political groups met the minister last night and agreed the terms of an alternative plan to Diageo's proposal, which would see up to 900 jobs lost.


A statement from East Ayrshire Council said the proposal agreed at the meeting chaired by Swinney "provides for continuing production at Port Dundas and the development of a new plant at Kilmarnock".


Swinney said the group would put its ideas to Diageo "swiftly".


"We look forward to discussions with the company on the details of our proposals. They have pledged to engage with us on our proposals and that is exactly what we expect them to do.


"The government, working with taskforce members, is doing everything in its power to try to protect employment in Scotland.


"We look to Diageo to engage with us positively in taking forward these proposals and securing a positive benefit for the economies of Glasgow, Kilmarnock and Scotland."


A spokesman for Diageo said the company was aware of the meeting being chaired by Swinney last night, but as it had not been invited to attend it was not aware of its outcome, although it expected to be advised "in due course".


The spokesman added: "The recent BDO Stoy Hayward report has already supported the majority of the earlier Diageo findings in relation to the restructuring proposals.


"The company remains committed to finding the right solution for the business in the long term.


"We look forward to the presentation of the alternative viable proposal and senior company executives will give due consideration to the solutions suggested."


While confidential the conclusion of the BDO Stoy Hayward report, commissioned by Scottish Enterprise, is understood to have backed the commercial argument behind Diageo's proposal to close the plant.


East Ayrshire Council said in a statement: "Whilst the BDO Stoy Hayward report contained a number of factual inaccuracies, the one thing to emerge from that report was that there are other viable alternatives."

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