Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Say, This Sure Is a Nice Highly Trained, Well Paid Workforce You've Got Here
By Diageo Plc.

Hey there, friend. What you up to?

Just distilling a bit of whisky, eh? Johnnie Walker, nice blend, nice little earner.1

Say, this sure is a nice workforce you got here. Highly trained, well paid, productive... Full maternity and sickness pay, I imagine?

Yes, this is some nice, sweet workforce you've got. It'd be such a shame if something happened to it.

What? Oh no, I don't mean nothing by it. It's just, you know, sometimes employees get so tied up spending their high wages, taking advantage of a generous annual leave package, that kind of thing. They forget what their interests are. Forget who their friends are, you know.

Why, one carelessly-worded salary negotiation later, a workforce like this could find themselves booted onto the dole queue, quicker than you can say "knife". Could find some nice luxury flats where your factory once was, eh? Turn 'em into a bit of extra pocket change. 2,3

Well, I'm not saying anything... But you know how it is. Fifers'll be happy to work for three-quarters of the price. 4 Your average Chinese prison slave, now, he'd work day and night for a bowl of rice and a kick up the arse. 5

What's that? You got the government to pay Diageo Plc off £2.6m for "refurbishments" already? 6 Well, sort of. That was just fire and theft, really, cover you for little accidents. Stubbed toes and such. Nice workforce like this needs comprehensive coverage.

Now, don't running your mouth about the government - we've got an arrangement with them. 7 It's a globalised market now, son. A workforce needs to look after itself, or something nasty might happen.

"Fair?" Of course it's not fair, mate, but "fair" never wet anyone's beak now, did it? 8

You're sure? Think about what you're saying here. Diageo Plc will fuck you like Dirk Diggler on a coke and Viagra binge, mark my words.

Right, son. You'll be hearing from us soon enough, and you'll rue the fucking day you crossed Diageo Plc (LSE: DGE; NYSE: DEO). 9

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1. The Johnnie Walker brand makes Diageo £1bn per year.

2. Diageo is showing its gratitude by sacking 900 Johnnie Walker workers in Kilmarnock and Glasgow.

3. The Daily Record reports that Diageo has secretly applied for permission to knock down its Kilmarnock factory, then build luxury flats on the site. So far as I know, this wouldn't have become public knowledge unless the Record had reported it.

4. Diageo claims it will hire up to 400 workers in Fife. No news on salaries and conditions for new hires yet, but Diageo chief executive Paul Walsh was paid £3.6m per year for his expertise (Guardian, 2008). If it pays its new workers the same as it pays the ones its sacked, I'll eat this laptop.

5. I've got a tenner here says a major Scotch whisky label will shift production to the People's Republic of China within ten years.

6. The Daily Mail reports today (not online) that the Scottish Executive paid Diageo £2.6m in 2000 for "refurbishments" at its Kilmarnock and Leven facilities. To date, Diageo has not paid any of this money back.

7. The Grauniad reported in 2008 that Diageo pays £43m per annum in corporate taxation - a mere 2% of its profits. (Update - John B in comments reckons this is utter bollocks. Cheers, Guardian writers).

8. Diageo estimates that its downsizing move will save it £120m. Diageo's annual turnover exceeds £7bn.

9. This is what the boss class means by "flexible labour" - it means "Bend over while we convert the jobs you've held for decades into a few grand unearned income for our wealthy investors". The next time you hear some blue-blood ideologue complaining about "wealth redistribution", remember that the last thirty years have been one long redistribution project - just not the kind of redistribution that boils Tory blood.

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