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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 January 2007, 08:47 GMT
Burberry chiefs in Commons probe
Burberry's Treorchy workers at the firm's New Bond Street store
There has been a high profile campaign against the plant's closure
Managers at the Burberry factory in the Rhondda are likely to be summoned to justify its closure before Welsh MPs.

Hywel Francis, chair of the Commons Welsh Affairs Select Committee, is to ask Burberry chiefs to give evidence to its inquiry on globalisation.

Politicians and some of the 300 workers have mounted a high profile campaign to retain the Treorchy factory.

The latest news comes as the official company-union consultation on the closure is due to finish on Friday.

Burberry plans to shut the factory in March and move production abroad despite a campaign backed by Hollywood actors Ioan Gruffudd - one of the company's "faces" - and Rhys Ifans, entertainer Max Boyce and opera singer Bryn Terfel.

Rhondda AM Leighton Andrews and the MP Chris Bryant have been working with the GMB union in the anti-closure fight.

'British sensibility'

Now MP Mr Francis has confirmed in an e-mail to Mr Andrews that he is to ask Burberry chairman John Peace and its chief executive Angela Ahrendts to give evidence to the select committee.

Mr Andrews said the parliamentary inquiry will "put Burberry bosses on the spot" to justify their actions.

"We have always believed that the factory is profitable, and this will force Burberry to put figures on the table in public."

Mr Andrews added: "Burberry claims to be a luxury brand with a distinctive British sensibility.

"Yet here they are seeking to move jobs from Britain to China, even though they have told us they don't know what workers in China will be paid."

Union poster
Burberry plans to close the factory in March

This latest intervention follows criticism of Burberry bosses over the insensitivity of Christmas bonuses given to its Welsh staff.

Union leaders dismissed the Burberry scarf and a 30 voucher to spend in its stores offered to workers a "complete insult", but Burberry said the gift was consistent with recent years.

The company announced in September it was looking at proposals to move production abroad, but has since said it does not intend to abandon the UK completely and has offered Welsh staff work at its site in Yorkshire.

In November, Treorchy staff protested outside the brand's London stores and last month took their campaign to Westminster to urge politicians to support their cause.

Welsh Secretary Peter Hain has told Burberry that Rhondda workers would be unlikely to take up offers of alternative jobs at the company's plants at Castleford and Rotherham in Yorkshire.

The Church of England, which has invested in the company, has also written to Burberry asking about its proposals to close the factory.

"We had support from Hollywood actors"

Burberry gifts 'complete insult'
24 Dec 06 |  South East Wales
Burberry campaign goes to Commons
19 Dec 06 |  South East Wales
Terfel supports Burberry campaign
17 Dec 06 |  South East Wales
Gruffudd supports Burberry fight
27 Nov 06 |  South East Wales

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