Diageo cuts UK jobs as it reviews spirits bottling

20th April, 2017 by Arabella Mileham

Diageo is set to move the bottling of some white spirits from Scotland to Italy and the US with the loss of 100 jobs in Scotland.

The global drinks company today confirmed to workers and trade unions that 70 jobs would be lost at the Leven plant in Fife and 35 to go at it bottling plant in Shieldhall outside Glasgow, when it moves spirits bottling to its factory in Santa Vittoria D’Alba (a former Cinzano factory) and the US.

A Diageo spokesperson said the review of the spirits bottling footprint came after the disposal of its wine business and the end of its wine bottling contracts, but said it remained committed to its three spirit bottling sites in Europe.

“We have reviewed our spirits bottling footprint to ensure we not only deliver leading performance for both our domestic and export supply chains around the world, but also to strengthen our business for the future. Regrettably, these changes may impact some roles in our European bottling plants towards the end of the year and we will now enter a period of consultation with our employees and their representatives to discuss the proposals in more detail,” they said. “We are committed to our three spirits bottling sites in Europe – two in Scotland and one in Italy.”

“The outcomes of this review will ensure we have the flexibility to respond to increased competition and external volatility, alongside testing and building the capability we need across our global supply chain to grow our brands.”

“The review of our sourcing footprint is both for the processing and the bottling of spirits in Europe. Smirnoff will be impacted but not Gordon’s.”

However trade union GMB Scotland called it a “gross betrayal” of the Scottish workers who had contributed “significantly” to Diageo’s success and the “massive economic dividend our economy receives from whisky and white spirits manufacturing”, and blamed the decision on Brexit.

GMB Scotland organiser Louise Gilmour accused Diageo of “hedging its bets over Brexit” and added that the cuts highlighted how the UK government had “been asleep at the wheel over Brexit” and its impact on UK workers.

“Instead of listening to the real concerns of working people and acting on them, the Tories are off on the election trail asking voters to back them over Brexit but the harsh realities of the decision to withdraw from the EU are already taking hold,” Gilmour said in a statement.

Although Diageo’s chief executive Ivan Menezes had made made it plain before the Brexit referendum that he wanted Britain to remain a member of the European Union, a month after the vote he insisted that Brexit was “not a big deal” for Diageo, as there would be benefits if the transition was approached in the right way.

Speaking at a roundtable earlier in January, Menezes said the company had been getting “tremendous support” from Prime Minister Theresa May in the wake of Brexit referendum, and it was keen to open up new export markets and create conditions for the Scotch industry to thrive. He added that the goal of the company was to create more resilience in its performance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Experienced Administrator

The Drinks Business
Central London, UK

Sales Executive (London – Craft Spirits)

Bimber Distillery
London, UK

2 x Buying Assistants

Berry Bros. & Rudd
Battersea and Basingstoke, UK

Temporary Christmas Sales Support - Wines & Spirits

Harrods
Knighsbridge, London, UK

Head of Wholesale

Hispamerchants Ltd
London, UK

Sales Manager

Hispamerchants Ltd
London, UK

National Sales Manager

Maverick Drinks
Field based, UK

Regional Sales Executive

EWGA
Gloucestershire, UK

The World Bulk Wine Exhibition

Amsterdam,Netherlands
20th Nov 2017

The Drinks Business Green Awards 2017

London,United Kingdom
20th Nov 2017

The Global Spirits Masters Lunch

London,United Kingdom
1st Dec 2017
Click to view more

Green Awards 2017

Deadline : 25th October 2017

The Global Riesling Masters 2017

Deadline : 30th October 2017

Click to view more

Champagne Masters 2017

The only Champagne blind tasting in the UK, the competition will reward the best wines in the following categories:

The Global Rosé Masters 2017

With wines from the palest of pink to almost ruby red, bone dry to almost cloyingly sweet, reductively handled to barrel-aged, as well as gently spritzy to fully sparkling.

Click to view more