A whisky company has suspended operations at its Dumbarton plant today after workers claimed no measures had been taken to protect them from coronavirus.

Chivas Brothers has halted work at least until the end of the backshift while safety processes are reviewed.

The company says it is consulting on site with operators, engineers, and union representatives to ensure the highest safety processes are in place.

In a phone call to the Reporter yesterday, a furious workman at the whisky bottling plant at Kilmalid, Stirling Road, blasted the company for treating their workers "like sh*t" for not issuing them with gloves, masks or advice about social distancing.

The man, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "The mood in the place is terrible. We fear if we don't turn up for work we will be sacked.

"The management have told us it's essential work, but what's essential about making whisky?"

A spokesman for the company told the Reporter: "Protecting the health and safety of our employees has never been more critical and that is why all our operations have been suspended until at least the end of the backshift today (25th March) to allow us time to listen to our teams, review and implement any required additional social distancing measures.

"We will be conducting further consultations on site with operators, engineers, and union representatives [today] to ensure the highest safety processes are in place."

The spokesman said new measures will include implementing temperature checks on arrival and departure at all sites as soon as possible.

He added: "Additionally, we have advised any employee that cannot travel to work either in a car alone or by foot to stay at home.

"We are stepping up our already substantial social distancing processes across our reduced number of sites that are remaining operational.

"Current measures in place include: separating the working environment into zones to enforce a distance of two metres or more between workers, a one-way system to ensure safe entrance and exit from the sites, improved digital facilities to host necessary meetings safely, and staggered clock in and clock out times to ensure no clusters around shift changes.

"We have taken these measures and are continuing to review further actions in light of the UK and Scottish government’s guidance that businesses that can operate with social distancing measures in place can continue to do so.

"All these measures will be under constant review as we navigate through these unprecedented times.

"We are keeping a close eye on what’s happening across Government and resulting business advice as well as listening and taking operational guidance from our brilliant team through daily updates across all shifts."

The GMB union has members at the plant. The union's Scotland organiser Keir Greenaway said: "GMB welcomes any measures by Chivas to put extra health and safety precautions in place.

"However, we have grave concerns that not all these will be in place and working sufficiently by the time that Kilmalid re-opens.

"We call on Chivas and other whisky producers to do the right thing, put the health of their workforce and communities first, by suspending production at this time."