Whisky Production to Resume Despite Coronavirus Concerns
- Posted by: Craig | April 23, 2020
A variety of whisky bottling plants which suspended work due to coronavirus are set to reopen.
The GMB Scotland union states centers owned by Edrington, Inver House and North British have approached personnel about returning to work.
Other companies in the whisky and spirits industry, such as Diageo and Grants, have actually kept open plants with scaled-back operations.
Trade unions argue that all production must be halted due to Covid-19.
Edrington said a “regulated reboot” with a considerably reduced number of staff would enable it to sustain the business and aid safeguard work.
The development comes as a study of GMB Scotland members in the sector found simply 18% believed that adequate social distancing procedures were being followed in their workplace.
‘ Anxious and afraid’
Keir Greenaway, GMB Scotland organiser for the whisky and spirits sector, stated some his members had also reported getting abuse from members of the public for going to work.
He stated: “The ones that were shut are now aiming to reopen because they take a look around and see that others have not followed them in taking the sensible method in suspending operations. Workers are anxious and terrified.
” They do not have confidence their health and wellbeing can be protected by their employers.
” The public health guidelines exist for good factors; to stop the spread of this lethal virus and to save lives. Yet whisky and spirits giants think its business as usual in the midst of a killer pandemic.”
About 700 members responded to the GMB Scotland survey provided last weekend over e-mail, with only 7% of participants specifying they must continue producing whisky during the coronavirus lockdown.
An additional 89% of workers stated their households had expressed issue that they were still working throughout the lockdown.
The trade union wants the Scottish federal government to force the suspension of production.
Edrington said it has worked carefully with union representatives on its plans to reopen and highlighted the fact it is likewise producing hand sanitiser at its Glasgow website.
A spokesman said: “Our start-up groups will be made up of those without any hidden health problems individually or within their home, and do not depend on public transport.
” Although we currently go beyond government guidelines, we have introduced new enhanced social distancing and hygiene measures as part of our restart plan to ensure the health and wellness of our people.”.
The company suspended its operations on 25 March to permit it to get clarity on recommendations from both the UK and Scottish federal governments.
Nobody from North Bridge or Inver House was offered for remark.
‘ Significantly downsized’
The Scotch Whisky Association said those business continuing to operate were doing so with “significantly scaled-back operations” and in “strenuous compliance” with social distancing guidelines.
A spokesman said: “The UK federal government has likewise explained that food and beverage production, consisting of alcohol, are important services which manufacturing need to continue where appropriate security and social distancing protocols can be put in place in order to re-stock grocery stores and off-licences that remain open during the crisis.”.
The SWA stated about 12 million litres of ethanol would be produced for about 50 million bottles of hand sanitiser in the next 2 months.
The spokesperson added: “This is not business as usual. For business, small and large, which continue to run, this is not about profit however about ensuring businesses can be in a position to contribute to Scotland’s financial recovery.”.
A Scottish government spokesman said: “In this public health crisis it is essential that all businesses align totally with the social distancing steps introduced to secure the country’s heath, wellbeing and economic future.
” As such we would advise all business attractions, sites and properties to close now unless their activity is vital to the health and well-being of the country.
” We have actually released assistance which makes clear that businesses can just continue to run if they can, by collaborating with personnel and unions, develop methods to keep their employees safe, both in travelling to work and at work.”