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Last Updated: Friday, 23 July, 2004, 15:11 GMT 16:11 UK
Diageo attacked over whisky cuts
Smirnoff mule
Diageo owns some of the best-known brands of drink
A union official has criticised drinks giant Diageo after it axed 60 whisky jobs in Scotland.

The 55 posts in Glasgow and five in Edinburgh are being outsourced to Eastern Europe, the company said.

The redundancies will be phased in between August and next March as the work is transferred to the firm's base in Budapest, Hungary.

Amicus regional officer for the drinks industry Billy Parker described the move as "an absolute disgrace".

Diageo said the transfer of the back office jobs would not result in the closure of either of its offices in Port Dundas, Glasgow, or Edinburgh Park.

But Mr Parker said there was a real danger of Scotland's most famous industry "drip dripping" abroad.

Jobs increase

He said: "It's an absolute disgrace that these people have been thrown on the scrap heap, a number of them will have great difficulty in finding other employment.

"This from a company that made 1.5bn last year. So much for brand Scotland, all they're interested in is the price of packaging a case of whisky."

A Diageo spokeswoman said: "It's true to say that some of our back office account functions are moving to Budapest.

"And since this was announced two years ago we are very pleased to say we have established 180 permanent posts, realising a net increase of jobs in Scotland."

She said Diageo had not consulted with unions over the redundancies because it "operated in a non-unionised environment".

The company, which makes and exports more than 200 different types to 180 markets around the world, employs 3,800 people in Scotland.

The Scottish whisky industry supports more than 41,000 jobs in the UK and is the UK's fifth largest export earner.

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