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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 September 2006, 13:07 GMT 14:07 UK
Valleys Burberry plant to close
Burberry shop front
Burberry took over the Treorchy factory in 1989
The proposed closure of the Burberry factory in the Rhondda, with the loss of 300 jobs, is "very disturbing news," says the area's Welsh Assembly Member.

A spokesman for the iconic clothing range said it was not "commercially viable" to keep the Treorchy plant open and was moving production abroad.

But AM Leighton Andrews said: "We've always believed it's a viable situation at Treorchy and we'll do all we can."

Talks will be held with unions over plans to shut the site in early 2007.

Speaking soon after the announcement, Mr Andrews said: "This is very disturbing news. It's a real blow to the community in the Rhondda.

"I will be speaking to the company today, and I've already spoken to the First Minister Rhodri Morgan about this.

Burberry provided well-paid, quality employment and this is a sad loss to the economic infrastructure of the Rhondda
Councillor Robert Bevan

"He is ensuring that the Welsh Assembly Government's economic development team will also be making contact with the company, and obviously we want to find out the reasons why the factory is to close."

The company said the closure plan follows a year-long review of its supply chain and manufacturing process, leaving managers with "no obvious alternative other than to propose the closure of the factory".

The factory makes polo shirts and production will be moved abroad where costs are lower. The firm has not said specifically where but it will be either Asia or South America.

It stressed the proposed closure was a one- off and the company would not abandon the UK.

A spokeswoman said there were no cuts planned for other sites in Castleford, West Yorkshire, and Rotherham, South Yorkshire.

Burberry is repaying its 300 Rhondda workers by scrapping their jobs
Jill Evans MEP

One worker said workers had been crying when given the news.

Another woman said: "There's so many of us working there. We don't know what we are going to do now."

Local councillor Robert Bevan said: "This is a bitter economic blow to the Rhondda Fawr and the county as a whole.

"Burberry provided well-paid, quality employment and this is a sad loss to the economic infrastructure of the Rhondda."

Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans said that in July Burberry had been "boasting" of a 19% sales increase, with revenues up to 135m.

"Burberry is repaying its 300 Rhondda workers by scrapping their jobs," said Ms Evans.

She called it a "disastrous blow for the Rhondda" and "the latest in a long series of job losses, particularly at the top of the valleys".

Ms Evans said: "It's unbelievable that the assembly government were unaware of the situation and have not stepped in to help keep these desperately needed jobs".

Burberry has said it will help employees in Treorchy find alternative jobs inside or outside the company.

The factory at Treorchy has been producing clothes since 1939 but it was only taken over by Burberry in 1989.


SEE ALSO
Asia demand lifts Burberry sales
12 Jul 06 |  Business
Retail sales help boost Burberry
12 Apr 06 |  Business
Burberry versus The Chavs
28 Oct 05 |  Business

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