Diageo strike deadline extended, layoffs impacting 103 workers



Diageo signBy Ron Giofu


Negotiations are ongoing between Diageo and Unifor Local 2098 with the union also confirming layoffs at the Amherstburg plant.

“We’re extending the deadline for our current collective agreement to Wednesday, February 12,” said Unifor Local 2098 president D.J. Lacey. “As a result, 103 workers were laid off as of this Tuesday (Feb. 4).”

The number of layoffs is “pretty typical,” said Lacey, stating the company stockpiled supply anticipating a work stoppage. He does not know how long the layoffs will last.

Talks will continue up to the deadline with the aim of getting a new contract, Lacey continued.

“It is the responsibility of the bargaining committee to continue talks on behalf of the membership,” said Lacey.

Investments in the Amherstburg plant continue to be what Local 2098 want to see, he added.

“Our struggles around the bargaining table have nothing to do with wages or benefits,” said Lacey. “Our main focus at this point in time is to secure future investments into the Amherstburg facility.”

The union wants to make the Amherstburg plant “a monument to the membership and the community of Amherstburg” all the while protecting good paying jobs that will help support people in the area into the future, he added.

Lacey was optimistic about talks continuing.

“To us, it’s a good thing,” he said. “You are not going to get anything done by not talking.”

Bob Paling, vice president of corporate negotiations, also confirmed the extension of negotiations as well as the 103 layoffs.

“That will continue through the extent of the contract,” Paling said of the layoffs. “That was agreed to between Diageo and the union.”

Paling said the company hopes the talks go well and that an agreement is reached to keep the Amherstburg facility viable. He also believed it was a good sign that both sides have agreed to an extension.

“It’s a good thing we have an extension so we can come to an agreement,” said Paling.

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