THE triple threat of Donald Trump’s trade tariffs, the coronavirus crisis and a “botched” Brexit mean the Scottish whisky industry could turn from a success story into “an absolute disaster”.

That’s the warning from Gary Smith, head of GMB Scotland, who called for employment laws to be devolved to help Scotland’s economy recover from the pandemic.

The union chief made the call as he spoke today as the Westminster Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee.

Raising concerns about the whisky industry, he told MPs: "Whisky has been a huge success story for Scotland in the UK. We need support for the industry now. We need to tackle the Trump tariffs, because it's had an impact on exports to the industry, and that will feed through to investment and jobs.

"We are facing the Covid crisis and work paralysis in the hospitality sector, the Trump tariffs and if there is a botched Brexit we could turn the success story of whisky into an absolute disaster in terms of job creation and protection.

"We need action from the UK Government to get those tariffs removed."

SNP MP Alan Brown whether a change in the law around employment could aid the recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

Smith said: "We have long supported devolution of employment law. I think for all the criticism that follows the Scottish Government, the level of engagement with the trade unions and the commitment to working with us is far better in Scotland than it has been elsewhere.

"The Fair Work agenda that the Scottish Government has is something we could build upon, but will have to be underpinned by the devolution of employment laws."

READ MORE: Donald Trump’s ‘vindictive’ trade tariffs hitting Scots firms, SNP warn

Speaking about renewables, the union boss slammed the Westminster government for awarding contracts to foreign firms.

He explained: “I listen to a government minister this week talking about the most recent offshore wind project Seagreen project, and he said it's going to kickstart Scotland's clean recovery. Let me put this simply – there's 114 major structures that are part of that project which support turbines. 110 of those structures will be built in the United Arab Emirates. Dubai and Denmark. The green jobs revolution is happening anywhere but Scotland and the UK.

"The wind farm project is a few miles off the coast of Fife in Scotland. You can see where the project would happen from Fife. The big structures for that project are going to be produced in Indonesia, and China, shipped halfway around the world to be plonked off the coast of Scotland. And meanwhile, on the same Fife coastline, we have yards that are lying empty.

"Fabrication yards on the Isle of Lewis that desperately need work and in working class communities in Fife that are lying empty while we export our green jobs of the future abroad. And in fact, I would go so far as to say that the only expertise that the UK has in the renewables sector is about how we export our jobs.

"We cannot hope to export jobs, and import an economic recovery. The issue of renewables and energy desperately needs to be addressed for workers in Scotland, and indeed across the whole of the UK."