Diageo says it wants to ‘refocus’ its business on ’emerging markets’

Tim Lezard

Unite Theobalds Rd logoUnite has warned the drinks giant, Diageo, that it must not make its UK and Irish workers pay once again for a new global strategy aimed at producing and selling more beer, wine and spirits in ’emerging markets’.

The company – which produces Guinness, Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker and Bailey’s – has announced it intends to enforce cost savings of around £60m per annum from 2016.

In 2010 and 2011 unions in the west of Scotland campaigned unsuccessfully against the closure of Diageo’s Kilmarnock bottling plant, with the loss of more than 500 jobs, in an area of high unemployment.

The company’s pre-tax profits rose by 32% last year to £3.1bn.

Jennie Formby, Unite national officer for food and drink, said: “There must be no repeat of what has gone before where our members at UK or Irish plants pay for increased profits and tasty dividends for the board and shareholders with their jobs and pay.

“Diageo is extremely successful, yet the company prefers to pay its tax via Amsterdam  to avoid paying what it is due in this country.

“This company must conduct itself in a more socially responsible way, beginning with stating clearly that it will secure the jobs of those who have grown this company to international success.”

Diageo is the world’s biggest producer of spirits.

Executives say they aim to increase its sales from emerging markets to 50% of total sales by February 2016.

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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