Diageo talks could avert 900 job cuts

Chris Mordue, partner at Pinsent Masons, says the Diageo case illustrates how companies involved in a site closure or redundancy exercise need to have a well developed communications strategy which focuses on communication with a wide audience to explain the rationale of the decisions they are making.

The finance secretary is to meet Diageo representatives to discuss the Johnnie Walker taskforce plans to save some of 900 whisky jobs under threat, according to the BBC.

John Swinney is expected to give more detail on alternative proposals to closure of Diageo’s Kilmarnock bottling plant and Port Dundas distillery.

It is feared the move could cost the local economy more than £15m a year.

Diageo said the job losses would be off-set by the creation of up to 400 new posts in Fife.

Alternative proposals to the closures have already been agreed by the taskforce, which has brought together trades unions, local authorities, Scottish Enterprise and politicians.

If adopted, the proposals would see production continue in the Glasgow distillery and a new plant created in Kilmarnock.

Swinney said: “Our intention has always been to produce a solution which suits Diageo’s business needs and is in Scotland’s best interest.

“Our work to reverse Diageo’s plans is about safeguarding economically fragile communities of Kilmarnock and Port Dundas.”

He added the alternative proposals were ‘detailed, deliverable and in our collective interest’.

A spokesman for the company said a “key element for Diageo remains the receipt of a detailed response from the Scottish Government taskforce on their alternative proposals for Kilmarnock and Port Dundas and the resulting implications for Leven”.

He added: “Our overall priority remains the ongoing consultation with our employees and supporting them during this difficult time.”

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