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Friday, 28 January, 2000, 20:07 GMT
Clothing workers given notice

Bairdwear factories Five Bairdwear factories in Wales are due to close

Around 1,000 workers at five William Baird clothing factories in south Wales began receiving their redundancy notices as the group prepared to close the sites in three months time.

In total 4,500 workers from 14 clothing factories across the UK which supply Marks & Spencer will be made redundant.

The job losses were first announced in October when M&S told William Baird it was axing its long-standing contract with the company.

Factories in Bargoed, Merthyr, New Tredegar, Port Talbot and Pyle all supplied the high street chain.

Two other factories in Maesteg and Pontardawe were already due for closure.

Completed contracts

The first staff to receive their notice will be those on 12 weeks notice.

Staff with shorter notice periods will receive their redundancy letters over the next three months.

The company's last work for M&S includes producing clothes for the retailer's spring fashion collection unveiled earlier this week.

All 14 of the factories are scheduled to close when that contract is completed on 20 April.

Clothes Marks and Spencers are now using overseas manufacturers
M&S has cut contracts with a number of UK suppliers in order to source products from less expensive overseas manufacturers.

The change of suppliers has come at a troubled period for the retailer in which sales and profits have been falling and the company has even been tipped as a possible takeover target.

Members of the GMB union representing Welsh workers demonstrated outside the company's Queen Street store in Cardiff last month.


Bairdwear is also seeking 53m compensation from M&S for the "summary termination" of its contract.

M&S's decision to buy more of its clothing lines from overseas has already cost as many as 1,000 jobs in Wales.

Over the last 18 months the Bairdwear group has had to close seven of its factories.

And when the five remaining Bairdwear factories close in the spring that number will climb to 2,000.

The GMB said the switch to cheaper overseas suppliers is designed to please the city of London at the expense of Britain's domestic clothing industry.

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See also:
17 Jan 00 |  Wales
Clothing union demo at M&S store
11 Jan 00 |  Business
M&S sued by supplier
01 Nov 99 |  Wales
Baird workers offered training advice
17 Nov 99 |  Wales
Union "positive" after Bairdwear meeting
10 Sep 99 |  Wales
Threat to hundreds of jobs

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