10/09/2009 - Defend Jobs at Diageo!

DIAGEO is one of the world's largest drinks companies.  It was formed in 1997, following the merger of GrandMet and Guinness.  It deals in wine, spirits and beers.  Its most well-known brands include: Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Guinness, Bushmills and Sterling Vineyards.

Although its HQ is in London it is a vast multinational giant.  Over 22,000 people are employed across the world.  Manufacturing facilities exist in Europe, North America, Latin America, Africa, Australia, India and the Caribbean.  It trades in over 180 markets around the world. 

Two of its European facilities are based in Scotland – in Kilmarnock and Port Dundas in Glasgow.  Here around 900 people are currently employed in the company's bottling and distillery sites .

However these jobs are under threat as Diageo has announced its intention to axe them.

In July, around 20,000 people marched through the centre of Kilmarnock in protest with the backing of the Scottish government and local councils.

Solidarity Trade Union supports the campaign to defend jobs at Diageo.  If these 900 jobs go Diageo will be directly responsible for creating two massive unemployment blackspots.

Solidarity General Secretary Patrick Harrington said:

“According to some reports, this multinational giant recently announced operating profits of £2.4bn.  This is a 10 per cent rise on last year.It’s also been reported that Diageo chief executive Paul Walsh was paid £5m in 2008.  The ordinary workers in Kilmarnock and Port Dundas would earn a pittance compared to that. The plan to scrap 900 Scottish jobs is an outrage.  It’s simply not on.

If the company goes ahead with its plans, Diageo workers may consider occupying both sites.  Scottish workers should consider how best to support of their fellow workers in Kilmarnock and Port Dundas”.