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Diageo to reconsider Scottish plant closures

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Diageo chiefs have promised they will give full and proper consideration to alternatives to closing their Kilmarnock plant.

The assurance was given during a meeting today between First Minister Alex Salmond and Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise Jack Perry with Diageo Chief Executive Officer Paul Walsh and the company’s Managing Director Global Supply & Global Procurement David Gosnell in London.

Earlier this month, Diageo announced a review its Scottish operations, which would involve net job losses of some 500 across Scotland, including the company’s closure plans in Kilmarnock and Port Dundas.

The Scottish Government is leading the joint campaign and working closely with East Ayrshire Council, Glasgow City Council, the trade unions, and local MPs and MSPs in order to present an alternative business case to Diageo next month focused on securing jobs in Scotland. Scottish Enterprise has been charged with working with Diageo to develop that serious alternative business case, and Diageo has agreed to provide dedicated support and information to enable this work to be conducted.

First Minister Alex Salmond said:”This was a substantive meeting, and Paul Walsh assured me that Diageo will give full and proper consideration to the alternative business case that is being developed and will be presented next month.

“That is extremely welcome, because engaging Diageo in this process and identifying shared objectives is vital if we are to be successful in securing a better outcome for Scotland.

“This was a constructive and positive meeting, as part of the ongoing work of the joint campaign. During the meeting, I reiterated that the Scottish Government and the people of Scotland regard Diageo’s current proposals as socially unacceptable. We believe that with goodwill on all sides, then movement is possible towards a position which would be better and more acceptable to Scottish opinion, as well as meeting Diageo’s key financial objectives.

“During what is a challenging time for Scotch whisky in the international marketplace, there are substantial economic advantages for Diageo in retaining and indeed enhancing their strong and long established relationship with Scotland, and that will form the platform of the joint campaign’s alternative business case.

“I would also encourage everyone to support the Diageo workforce at this time of uncertainty and demonstrate the need for a change in the company’s plans at the ‘Keep Striding Forward’ rally in Kilmarnock this Sunday.”

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Monday, December 11, 7:38 am

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