02/10/2009 - Step up the campaign to save Scottish jobs

DURING the middle of September, Solidarity Trade Union called for action to save 900 Scottish jobs at Diageo. 

The jobs are under threat at the Johnnie Walker blending and bottling plant in Hill Street, Kilmarnock and the Port Dundas Grain Distillery in Glasgow. If the bosses at Diageo get their way, 700 jobs will be lost in Kilmarnock. Another 200 jobs will go if they close down Port Dundas.
Solidarity plan called for discussion and debate under the headings Step Up The Campaign, Occupy The Sites? and Nationalise Diageo? 
They were promoted as ideas for discussion – intended as a practical way forward to stop the jobs massacre in Scotland. At the time Solidarity General Secretary Patrick Harrington said “We want to ensure jobs - not dole”.


Now Mr. Harrington has amplified the first point - Step Up The Campaign - of the Solidarity plan.
He has again called for the Scottish Trades Union Congress – STUC – to massively step up the campaign to defend jobs at Diageo. 

“To save Scottish jobs we need to build a mass broad front campaign. Naturally, the trade union movement is already involved. However, we also need to involve all political parties, community groups, the churches and any other interested group”.

In July, around 20,000 people marched through the centre of Kilmarnock to protest against Diageo.  Mr. Harrington declared that:
“similar sized marches should be planned for all cities and towns. Mass public meetings should also be organized. The whole of Scotland should be made aware of Diageo’s terrible decision to slash hundreds of jobs”.
He said that the hi-tech campaign - which has seen Diageo bosses and leading shareholders blitzed with 450,000 e-mails – should also be stepped up. This e-mail campaign should be viraled out even further. All those who use social networking sites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and so on, should spread the word.
Mr. Harrington encouraged all Solidarity members and supporters to contact Diageo and register their disgust at the proposed Scottish jobs massacre. 
  • e-mail the Company Secretary: [email protected] 
  • phone Diageo on: +44 (0)20 7927 5200 or write to them:
  • Diageo plc, 8 Henrietta Place, London, W1G ONB.
Mr. Harrington also described Diageo Chief Executive – Paul Walsh – as a “hypocrite”. 
He noted that Mr. Walsh has said “I believe good businesses build good communities. And good communities foster good business." However, Walsh seems happy with plans that will devastate two communities - Kilmarnock and Glasgow. Mr. Harrington said “Does Mr. Walsh not see the irony here – does he not see the hypocrisy?”
Mr. Harrington was also scathing at the news of Diageo's rejection of the Scottish Government plan to rescue jobs. This was publicly announced by the transnational company whilst a consultation period is still running. Calls to extend the consultation period are also liable to be ignored.
The Solidarity General Secretary also said:
“Diageo is fantastically wealthy transnational corporation. The drinks trade is highly profitable. Last year they made profits in excess of £2bn – and we’re supposed to be in the middle of a recession! And Paul Walsh took home £5m last year. Workers should unite to expose the greed of this company. Their proposed jobs massacre in Scotland is simply not on.”