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Last Updated: Monday, 27 November 2006, 14:41 GMT
Gruffudd supports Burberry fight
Ioan Gruffudd
Ioan Gruffudd said he would be saddened if the factory closed
Hollywood star Ioan Gruffudd has revealed his support of Burberry workers in Rhondda, whose jobs are threatened by factory closure plans.

Gruffudd, one of the faces of Burberry who comes from nearby Aberdare, has written to the label's chief executive urging her to reconsider the proposal.

Three hundred jobs will be axed if the Treorchy plant is closed in March 2007.

Burberry, which plans to move production abroad, has said the factory is not "commercially viable".

The actor - star of films Fantastic Four, King Arthur, and 101 Dalmatians - became one of the two global faces of Burberry last year, along with actress Rachel Weisz.

Advertising featuring the pair has been at the centre of the company's promotion of its Burberry London fragrance.

The letter written by Ioan Gruffudd
I have sent a letter to the chief executive of Burberry urging her to choose an alternative course of action - I have not yet received a response
Ioan Gruffudd

Initially PR representatives said it would be "inappropriate" for the actor to comment on the closure plans.

But the Los Angeles-based star revealed he had contacted Burberry chief executive Angela Ahrendts in a letter to Rhondda AM Leighton Andrews.

He wrote: "The news of the proposed closure of the factory in Treorchy saddens me immensely.

"As you know I was raised in nearby Aberdare, and the experience of being immersed in such a vibrant and happy community has informed my life.

"I can only imagine what effect the loss of so many jobs would have on this great community.

"For this reason I have sent a letter to the chief executive of Burberry urging her to choose an alternative course of action. I have not yet received a response."

Burberry workers protesting at a London store
The Treorchy workers have taken their protest to London

Gruffudd wrote to Mr Andrews from Canada, where he is currently filming.

Mr Andrews said the actor had shown himself to be a "true voice of the valleys" and his intervention was "very significant".

"We have always taken the view that the closure decision is being implemented by the manufacturing division of Burberry who are simply looking at their baseline costs," said Mr Andrews.

"What we're concerned about are the impacts on the Burberry brand and the guardians of that brand are the plc board.

"So for someone who is so identified with Burberry's brand of Britishness to take this step of writing to the chief executive of Burberry I think is very significant."

Victoria Beckham

Earlier this month, more than 100 workers from the factory protested outside the label's top London stores.

They handed out leaflets outside the Burberry's Regent and Bond Street outlets to "put a human face" on the proposals to axe the jobs.

Workers have warned they also intend to take their campaign to other celebrities associated with Burberry, like Weisz and Victoria Beckham.

Clarence House has confirmed that Prince Charles has been kept informed of the Burberry campaign, but said the prince has not written a letter or intervened in any way.

"His support is a huge coup for workers at the factory"

"I think the campaign has made some impact"


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