Scotch jobs on the rocks

Posted on 4 Aug 2009 by The Manufacturer

Whiskey maker Whyte and Mackay has announced plans to cut 100 staff from its payroll, citing the harsh economic climate.

The numbers will be made up of 85 jobs across the spirit distiller’s Scottish sites and 15 from overseas. The total figure equates to over a sixth of Whyte and Mackay’s workforce.

“It will come as no surprise to anybody that a combination of the worldwide economic situation and the punitive UK legislative climate means that only the fittest alcoholic drink companies will survive,” said W&M chief John Beard.

“For Whyte & Mackay this means taking the painful decision to review our structures and costs.”

Scottish Enterprise minister Jim Mather agreed that the redundancies are unavoidable in the current economic climate and said that the company is acting in a “socially responsible manner” by not planning to close any individual sites.

The move follows fellow brewer Diageo’s recent announcement that 900 jobs are to be cut from the firm’s plants in Kilmarnock and Glasgow, including 700 from a Johnnie Walker bottling plant which will close.

Leading MPs north of the boarder called on the Scottish government to backtrack on minimum pricing plans for alcohol so as not to put any more jobs at risk.

Whyte and Mackay produces brands including Isle of Jura, Vladivar Vodka and Glayva Liquer, as well as its signature whiskey. It has distilleries in Invergordon, Fettercairn, Jura, Dalmore and Tamnavulin as well as its bottling plant in Grangemouth and headquarters in Glasgow.