29 January 2007 | Antony Barton
Burberry staff from south Wales marched on the London store at the weekend to protest against the planned closure of its factory in Treorchy and the transfer of jobs outside the UK.
On Friday, the clothing company offered its £1 million factory to the community as compensation for the loss of 300 jobs at the end of March.
Staff at the protest said they were disgusted by the offer. They held up "Keep Burberry British" signs and chanted: "We don't want your factory, we want our jobs."
The GMB union called the offer of the factory to the community a "hollow PR stunt". Mervyn Burnett, GMB organiser, said: "What good is an empty factory? The community does not want an empty factory, it wants people in work. Burberry knows that it would cost £250,000 to upgrade the electrics in the factory. We want Burberry to reversing its decision to close Treorchy and maintain production on the site."
Burberry said its production "has to be switched to more cost- effective sites designed to enhance the group's long-term operating efficiency." Work carried out at Treorchy will be relocated to the firm's other sites around the world. The company, which operates in Poland, Portugal and Spain, would not specify where the work would end up.
Chris Bryant, MP for Rhondda, told the Commons last week that the firm should lose its Royal Warrant if it went ahead with the plan to close the plant.
Famous names who have given their support to the protestors include Tom Jones, Ioan Gruffudd, Rhys Ifans, and Emma Thompson.