Diageo’s short measures are an insult to Johnnie Walker’s workers | Kevin McKenna

Even as the drinks giant posts huge profits, it treats its workforce with contempt

In the wilderness of post-Brexit Britain, ruthlessness and cunning, backed by financial muscle, will prevail. Many good days to bury bad news will dawn and corporate Britain will gather for the feast. In this jungle, there are few beasts more ruthless and cunning than Diageo, one of the biggest drinks manufacturers in the world.

In 2012, Diageo ended 192 years of whisky production at its Johnnie Walker bottling facility in Kilmarnock. Until that day, Johnnie strode cheerfully through this town, becoming one of the largest employers in North Ayrshire. He was sustained in turn by generations of skilled and resourceful workers who helped secure Diageo’s position as the most successful drinks company on the planet. No matter. Diageo decided that 700 local jobs and two centuries of dedicated service to its profits margins counted for nothing.

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