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GMB Warns Diageo Redundancies “Thin End Of The Wedge”

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

GMB Warns Diageo Redundancies “Thin End Of The Wedge” As US Tariffs Take Their Toll 

GMB has warned that redundancies in Diageo distilleries in Speyside could be the “thin end of the wedge” as US tariffs on single malt continue to hammer Scotland’s whisky and spirits sector.

22 redundancies, as part of a 42 per cent overall reduction in senior operator posts serving nine distilleries, were confirmed to union representatives ‪this evening (Wednesday 9 December).

It comes on the same day as the UK government announced it will drop some of the tariffs imposed on specific US imports ‪in a bid to end a 25 per cent charge on imports of single malt to the US.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) estimates the industry has lost £30 million a month on sales, and over £400 million in total since October 2021, as a result of the tariff dispute between the US and the EU.

GMB Scotland Organiser Keir Greenaway said: “The UK Government has finally woken up to the impact of the US tariffs on our whisky and spirits sector, but it’s come too late for some of our members and their families.

“We repeatedly warned the UK Government the costs would move from sales and profits to jobs and communities, and without an end to the tariffs these job cuts could be the thin end of the wedge.

“Ministers need go beyond gesture politics. The measures ‪‪from the 1st‪ January come with no assurances whatsoever from the incoming US administration, who have already signalled that Brexit Britain will get no special treatment.

“The UK Government need to stand up for jobs and communities through hard negotiation and lay down a marker that Scotland’s whisky and spirits sector won’t be a sitting duck in future trade negotiations.”


Contact: GMB Scotland Organiser Keir Greenaway on ‪07855 017 842 or GMB Scotland Communications on 07976 447 077.

Notes to Editors:

Distilleries affected by Diageo’s redundancies include: Glen Elgin, Linkwood, Mannochmore, Glenlossie, Auchroisk, Inchgower, Benrinnes, Dailuaine, Teaninich, Glen Spey, Strathmill & Knockando.