We have faith in the firm

Diageo'Banbeath'Leven'July 4, 2009'East Fife Mail stock photography - FREE use
Diageo'Banbeath'Leven'July 4, 2009'East Fife Mail stock photography - FREE use

REPRESENTATIVES of hundreds of workers at Diageo in Leven say they are unconcerned over job loss speculation linked to a global operations review.

The drinks giant last week announced an across-the-board overhaul to align supply and demand, in which it hopes to save around £60 million a year.

The prospect of job losses among Diageo’s 4000 Scottish employess was raised with an admission there was “likely to be some impact on employees.”

But union leaders at Banbeath, where the makers of Johnnie Walker whisky and Smirnoff vodka employ around 900 people, reckon Levenmouth has virtually nothing to worry about.

Diageo’s colossal investment in the area, good communication with employees and existing working arrangements had removed much of the concern.

GMB union official Pauline Russell explained there was a three-year rolling agreement on employment – which meant if any major downturn was to occur, there would still be three years’ work.

There was also very close consultation between management, unions and employees, so GMB operators were not scared by the announcement, she added, and that confidence was largely shared by the workforce.

Diageo, of course, has poured around £200 million into Fife over the last three years or so, including the recent opening of the £86 million bottling hall, plus £5 million for a packaging area at Leven.

Over £100 million has been commited to Cameronbridge Distillery in Windygates, where it employs around 200 people, to expand production capacity and and provide a leading bioenergy plant.

Last week, Diageo said its global supply and procurement operations would be refocused to enhance alignment between global supply and its 21 key markets.

Responsibility for local operations will be transferred to the markets and regional structures will be reduced.

The global supply organisation wouldcontinue to be responsible for ensuring functional excellence across all operations.

“This refocus follows the 2011 operating model review and is a consequence of Diageo’s increasing presence in new faster-growth markets, “ the company said.

The £60 milion annual savings are thought to be achievable in three years, with costs associated with the restructuring estimated at around £100 million.

“Further work will be required to establish the exact nature of the reorganisation but there is likely to be some impact on employees,” said the statement.

“Therefore, as decisions are made, these will be shared with our employees and their representatives first and foremost.”