Monday, February 27, 2017


The GMB, the union that represents whisky and spirits workers, has written to the UK Government Scottish Secretary David Mundell, calling for measures to protect the £5 billion Scotch whisky industry amid Brexit uncertainty.

The union has called for Nissan-style guarantees to safeguard estimated 160,000 jobs related to whisky. There are around 40,000 jobs which are directly supported by the industry, with a further estimated 120,000 jobs connected with whisky production and export.

GMB union calls for the Scotch whisky industry to be protected

The GMB, has called on the government to give reassurances to the Scotch whisky industry, similar to those given to Nissan, an industry worth around £2.9billion, which supports around 28,000 jobs.

Commenting on the news, Louise Gilmour, GMB Scotland Organiser, said: “Whisky is a massive success story for Scotland – and the UK – but we need the government to back us up in the months and years ahead. Westminster was quick to pledge support for Nissan – which is also vital for the economy – but is frankly dwarfed by the size of the whisky industry.”

She went onto say: “We need parity for workers in our whisky industry and the same guarantees that were given to Nissan. Tens of thousands of jobs depend on whisky and the government needs to take action to protect our member’s livelihoods post- Brexit. Our members want assurances that the government will be doing all it can to ensure whisky sector can thrive, creating much needed new jobs by securing good deals with new markets. Quite simply, we cannot do without this industry.“

Whisky is covered by World Trade Organisation agreements, which means exports won’t be subject to tariffs inside the EU, but 10% of exports – amounting to £400million, go to markets like Columbia, Mexico and South Korea where trade agreements were brokered through the EU. Following Brexit its feared that these lucrative exports could become subject to punishing tariffs.

Posted by Steve Rush