Diageo said this latest wave of cuts will deliver annual savings of £40m after an initial £120m cost.
According to reports, staff were given the news during 10-minute meetings with bosses at 9am yesterday. But employees, union bosses and politicians erupted with fury at the move last night, insisting that it was a “knee-jerk reaction to the current economic climate, with Diageo still making “significant profits”.
A Diageo spokesperson said: “These decisions have been extremely difficult to take. We need to be competitive in a global context and the restructuring is a key part of this.”
But last night, one 54-year-old Kilmarnock worker said: “It’s devastating. The atmosphere’s subdued, but I think there will be anger tomorrow. The firm spent millions changing the logo of Johnnie Walker a few years ago, turning the standing man around so he was looking to the future. He’d be turning in his grave now. I’ve worked here 38 years. There are girls whose parents worked here.”
Another woman, aged 52, who has worked at the plant for 36 years, said: “We’ve bent over backwards for the bosses, taken unpaid leave, changed shifts – we even went without our annual party in March to save them £20,000. But it’s never enough. I feel very bitter and angry.”
The Port Dundas distillery, which makes Johnnie Walker, J&B and Bells, has been producing whisky in Glasgow since 1810. Some 700 jobs will go as the Johnnie Walker packaging plant in Kilmarnock — which has been producing whisky since 1820 — is wound down over two years.
Another 140 staff will lose work when the Port Dundas distillery and cooperage in Glasgow also close. A further 30 workers will be cut at the city’s Shieldhall packaging plant.
Sources: Daily Mail, The Scottish Sun
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