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Last Updated: Saturday, 18 November 2006, 14:56 GMT
Protest at label's London stores
Burberry workers protesting at a London store
The Treorchy workers handed out leaflets to members of the public
More than 100 workers from the Burberry clothing factory in south Wales have taken their protest at closure plans to the label's top London stores.

They handed out leaflets outside the firm's Regent and Bond Street outlets to "put a human face" on the proposals to axe up to 300 job by 31 March.

Rhondda AM Leighton Andrews said the people passing the two stores had "listened to what we had to say".

Burberry says the Treorchy, Rhondda, plant is not "commercially viable".

Around 120 workers left south Wales for the demonstration, where they were joined by London-based GMB union activists and officials.

Burberry does not need to move manufacturing abroad - sales are up - profits are up
Mervyn Burnett, GMB union

Campaigners say the firm does not need to shut the Treorchy plant, which makes polo shirts, and point to the firm's 74m profits for the first half of this year.

They say closing the Rhondda-based factory would add only 2% to Burberry's profits.

'Cap'

The London protest began with the workers marching from Marble Arch before splitting into two groups to stand outside the stores for about two hours.

Burberry declined to comment on the demonstration but a spokeswoman said a training support programme for its Treorchy workers would be available from Monday morning.

She added that the firm still had a manufacturing base in the UK, and had increased its workforce by 500 over the past five years to 2,000 staff currently - although it was not clear if all the 2,000 were manufacturing posts.

Rhondda AM Leighton Andrews, who travelled up on one of two coaches, said "several thousand" leaflets had been handed out and the workers had "a very good reception" from passing members of the public.

Burberry shop front
The firm says the Treorchy plant is not commercially viable

He said: "One gentleman read the leaflet and said he would not buy Burberry any more and he threw his cap away.

"This is the start of us bringing the message home to Burberry at the consumer level, that they are in danger of wrecking their brand if they undermine its Britishness by moving their jobs offshore."

He said the GMB union, which represents staff in other Burberry plants, was looking at taking the protest to other parts of the UK.

David Prichard, 61, has worked at the Treorchy site since he was 15, and is three years away from retirement.

He said: "If the company was losing money, I could understand it, but they are making money and still shutting the place. There are young people there with mortgages."

Burberry has agreed to put back the Treorchy factory closure from the end of the year to 31 March 2007, but campaigners want the firm to drop the closure plans altogether.

Burberry, which was founded in 1856, has a number of shops in and around central London.




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