Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Kilmarnock protestations !

Around 20,000 people demonstrated in Kilmarnock July 26 against the planned closure of the Johnnie Walker’s whisky bottling plant by the major drinks trans-national Diageo. The huge turnout, almost half Kilmarnock’s 44,000 residents, reflects deep concerns over the loss of some 700 jobs. The bottling plant is one of the largest employers in East and North Ayrshire, areas that are beginning to suffer seriously from the deepening recession, where decently paid work has been difficult to find for decades.

Diageo also intends to close a distillery at Port Dundas, Glasgow, where 140 jobs are threatened. Distribution workers at Hurlford—a small town just outside Kilmarnock—face being transferred to Linwood, 30 miles away, with potential loss of earnings and pension rights. The moves are part of Diageo’s plan to consolidate the bottling of several spirits—whisky, vodka, gin—into two plants in Scotland, at Shieldhall in Glasgow and Leven in Fife, closing the Kilmarnock plant, which only bottles Johnnie Walker’s whisky. A further 30 jobs are under threat at Shieldhall, which currently employs 500 workers.

The moves are in addition to a £200 million “restructuring” programme outlined by the company in February, which includes slashing 1,000 jobs from its global workforce of 23,000. Some 107 jobs are under threat in Ireland, while Diageo’s HQ in London is also undergoing re-organisation. The firm made £2 billion profit last year.


Chris H said...

For my mind legislation that requires private companies, and even government departments and agencies to consider the effect of such bean-counter daydreams upon the workforce, families and local society would be a good thing.

Private capital loves the idea of being able to treat the workforce as just another commodity to manipulate, just like an inanimate bag of concrete but the effect upon local economies and society can be devastating.

Like Vestas in the IOW, like Thatcher with the mines this sort of thing needs to be knocked on the head.

People matter.

whichfinder said...

Of course people matter but capitalism is primarily concerned with profit. No profit, no production. Governments exist to maintain the status quo; they are powerless to do otherwise.

After all the years of experience and all the failed attempts to reform the system more and more workers are beginning to realise that the problems they face (and myriad others) can only be addressed by a complete change in the way society is organised. That society is the classless, stateless, moneyless system called Socialism

Anything else is moonshine.

The Socialist Way

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