Johnnie Walker closures sparking anger

William M. Dowd photo

The last battle on Scottish soil was at Culodden in 1746, during the Stuart uprising. The long peace may be broken if the uproar over the loss of jobs in the country's whisky industry heats up much more.

As the Scottish newspaper the Daily Record reports, "Whisky bosses sparked fury [Friday] night when they told 900 Scots workers there was no hope of saving their jobs."

Diageo, the international drinks giant that owns Johnnie Walker, had announced the closing of its distillery and cooperage in Port Dundas, Glasgow, and the closure of the bottling plant in Kilmarnock. (See earlier story here.) Work from the plants to be closed is to be transferred to other facilities.

"Diageo's European president Andrew Morgan dashed workers' hopes of a reprieve for the Johnnie Walker bottling plant in Kilmarnock. But he promised to leave the town a legacy, possibly in the form of a museum.

"Unite's John Quigley said: 'It's very kind of them to plan a wreath for us, but we aren't dead yet. The death of the plant is being exaggerated. We will continue to campaign to save the plant for our members, the local community and Scotland. We are going to keep on working to ensure that Johnnie Walker stays in Kilmarnock'."

Morgan reiterated the corporation's plans, saying, "Our current plans are very clear. We have done the review and our current plans would say the best alternative, from a competitive angle, is to come out of Kilmarnock.

"We didn't take that decision lightly. And, of course, we are sorry for all the people affected. We have done it to protect the 4,000 people who will remain with us and keep Scotch in Scotland."

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