Thursday, 3 September 2009


Today (Wednesday), the battle to stop Diageo closing the Johnnie Walker plant in Kilmarnock moves to the Scottish Parliament where Kilmarnock & Loudoun MSP Willie Coffey will lead a debate on the company’s plans to lay off hundreds of workers.

The debate was initiated by Mr Coffey after he tabled a motion supporting the cross party campaign established to oppose the closure of the Johnnie Walker plant in Kilmarnock.

The motion has attracted support from all political parties and is to be debated by the parliament on its first day back after the summer recess.

Earlier today, there will be a Scottish Government statement to the parliament on the work being done to persuade Diageo to change their plans.

The debate will also be backed up by action throughout the day by the trade unions representing Diageo workers, many of whom will be in parliament to hear the debate.

Commenting before the debate Mr Coffey said:

“Since Diageo made their announcement on 1 July, there has been a huge amount of work done on a cross party basis to halt this damaging proposal.

“That the parliament is to debate this on the first day after recess shows how seriously all parties view this threat, not only to Johnnie Walker and Kilmarnock, but also to the Scotch whisky industry.

“Ending Johnnie Walker’s link with Kilmarnock and tearing 800 jobs out of the local economy is a strategic mistake by Diageo and is also socially unacceptable.

“Johnnie Walker is the world’s most successful whisky and has been built up over many years. The workers are rightly asking why their jobs are being destroyed by Diageo in pursuit of short-term gain.

“It is absolutely right that we ask why a company that is making billions in profit each year is walking away from such an important part of the industry's heritage."

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