SNP MSP for Kilmarnock Willie Coffey has called for the campaign to save Diageo jobs to stay focussed as Diageo refused a request to delay the transfer of 64 workers from the plant at Hurlford to a different company based in Linwood– the first phase of closing Diageo’s sites.
In an email to Mr Coffey Diageo stated; “Our proposal is to transfer the business in two tranches - the first in or around September 2009, and the rest by the end of January 2010 and we will cease operating at the site by 31 January 2010” adding that as workers are being transferred “this decision is not subject to consultation with Diageo”
In further action SNP MSP for Glasgow Bob Doris will continue the joint campaign to save Diageo jobs in Scotland when he meets management at the Port Dundas distillery in Glasgow later today.
Kilmarnock MSP Willie Coffey said;
“There are 64 jobs due to be moved from Diageo in Hurlford to an outside company in Linwood in September – the first phase of Diageo’s plans to shut down their Ayrshire sites.
“Diageo’s behaviour to their workforce is increasingly questionable. It is outrageous that while discussions could still be taking place on alternative proposals workers will be being marched out of the door.
“Diageo claims this is a transfer so it does not have to deal with redundancy – but many of these workers may not be able to take up the jobs in Linwood.
“Despite the wider campaign and alternative proposals coming forward it seems Diageo are not willing to wait and will be transferring these jobs in September no matter what.
“I have asked for a delay and a real consultation with these workers but Diageo are currently refusing to make that happen.”
Commenting on the campaign to save the jobs in Diageo Mr Coffey said it must not be distracted by petty politics.
“This campaign is about two things rallying the public in support of the jobs at Johnnie Walker and Port Dundas and producing an alternative proposal to show Diageo that the plant and distillery are not only viable but an integral part of their business.
“Over the last week politicians of all parties have joined employees, trade unions and local communities to speak out against the closure – working together toward an alternative proposal that the First Minister will put forward to Diageo.
“I am deeply disappointed to see others trying to break that coalition and will not let it happen.
SNP Trade Union Group’s Malcolm Balfour added;
“To maximise its chance of success, the joint campaign must remain firmly united, so it was disappointing that individuals yesterday indulged in petty, political mischief making with a misinformed and baseless attack on the First Minister.
“The unions, Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, East Ayrshire and Glasgow Councils and politicians from all the parties must work on a consensual and co-ordinated basis.
“The only way to persuade Diageo to reverse their closure plans and save the workforce is to put politics aside, work together and present Diageo with a viable alternative business plan.”
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