Scottish whisky workers: UK Government ‘asleep on the job’ over Brexit

By Daniel Woolfson

- Last updated on GMT

GMB: union demands 'honest answers' as Sturgeon demands second Scottish referendum
GMB: union demands 'honest answers' as Sturgeon demands second Scottish referendum

Related tags: Uk government, Scotland

Scottish whisky workers have called for greater transparency around the effects of leaving the EU on their trade. 

GMB union, which represents whisky and spirits workers, is seeking clarity from MEPs, EU commission representatives, and trade experts against a “backdrop of silence” from the UK Government.

GMB Scotland organiser Louise Gilmour said: “Whisky is a massive success story for Scotland but our efforts to get protective measures from the UK Government amid Brexit uncertainty have so far been met with silence. We need some honest answers.

“If the UK Government cannot provide our members with the reassurances they need for the future defence of their livelihoods then we need to gauge how others see us, which may mean some hard truths from Europe on future trading arrangements.

“As a trade union focused on the creation and defence of decent jobs, what we are not prepared to entertain is the prospect of change being imposed on our whisky industry post-Brexit and to the detriment of employment conditions and investment.

“If the Scottish secretary and the UK Government are asleep on the job then GMB will ask the tough questions for them, because the Scottish economy simply cannot do without a thriving whisky industry.”

This news comes as Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has called for a second independence referendum, claiming the Scottish people deserved an “informed choice” once Brexit details were on the table.

Speaking at Bute House on 13 March, Sturgeon said: “Today as we stand, for all we know, on the eve of Article 50 being triggered, not only is there no UK wide agreement on the way ahead – the UK Government has not moved even an inch in pursuit of compromise and agreement.

“Our efforts at compromise have been met with a brick wall of intransigence. UK membership of the single market was ruled out with no prior consultation with the Scottish Government or indeed with the other devolved administrations – leaving us facing not just Brexit, but a hard Brexit.”

There had been a “point blank refusal” to discuss any kind of differential approach for Scotland, she said. 

Related topics: Spirits & Cocktails

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