Unite implores MPs to turn down Diageo

Posted on 24 Aug 2009 by The Manufacturer

Unite the Union is appealing to politicians to reject offers from drinks company Diageo for corporate hospitality at the Johnnie Walker Golf Championship at Gleneagles this weekend.

The union says it has been told by MPs and MSPs about lavish invitations for the event. It says accepting said invitations would not be appropriate, given Diageo’s recent restructuring announcements which will result in the loss of 900 jobs in Scotland.

“Diageo still wants to slash 900 jobs in Scotland in a move that will devastate families and communities across Scotland. We are asking politicians to support the campaign by formally rejecting Diageo’s overtures,” said John Quigley, Unite’s Scottish regional secretary.

He pointed out that Diageo is the world’s biggest drinks manufacturer and made over £2.2bn profit last year alone. “It isn’t in financial difficulty, as the sponsorship of this prestigious sporting tournament makes crystal clear,” said Quigley.

“The workers realise that they work for a business competing in a tough economic environment but they have stood by the company in good times and bad,” he added. “They have contributed immensely to the type of success that delivers huge profits, a £5 million annual wage for Diageo’s CEO Paul Walsh and glitzy sponsorship of high-profile events.”

Part of Diageo’s restructuring includes the closure of the Johnnie Walker bottling plant in Kilmarnock with the loss of 700 jobs.

The Johnnie Walker Golf Championship takes place from this Thursday (Aug 27) to Sunday (Aug 31) at Gleneagles in Perthshire, Scotland.