Diageo’s shareholders sent 450,000 e-mails in bid to reverse Johnnie Walker closure

Chris Mordue, partner at Pinsent Masons, says the email bombardment of Diageo’s shareholders orchestrated by Unite is not likely to replace industrial action but is a useful weapon in a trade union’s armoury.

More than 450,000 e-mails from members of the public have been sent to Diageo’s leading shareholders, lobbying them to use their power to reverse the decision to close Diageo’s historic Johnnie Walker site in Kilmarnock and save hundreds of jobs.

The campaign, spearheaded by Unite, is also opposed to plans to close Diageo’s distillery and cooperage at Port Dundas, slash jobs at its bottling plant in Glasgow, and transfer drivers at the Hurlford and Elgin plants to a third-party on poorer terms.

Well-known employers such as BP, UBS and British Airways are among Diageo’s 204 shareholders that have been targeted.

Len McCluskey, Unite assistant general secretary, said: “Support for these workers across the UK and internationally is magnificent and continues to grow.

“This response demonstrates the strength of feeling about these plans. People in their droves are telling Diageo that what it is doing, in seeking to throw loyal workers on the scrapheap to turn yet even more eye-watering profits, is simply unacceptable.”

Earlier this week, it was reported that some 700 Diageo jobs may be saved if a business plan attempting to prevent the Kilmarnock bottling plant from closure is implemented by the Scottish Government.

A debate on the firm’s restructuring plans will be held at the Scottish parliament on 2 September.

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