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Last Updated: Sunday, 17 December 2006, 08:16 GMT
Terfel supports Burberry campaign
Bryn Terfel and Jill Evans MEP
Terfel called for Burberry to 'see sense'
Opera star Bryn Terfel has added his voice to calls for Burberry to keep open its factory in the Rhondda.

The clothing firm is consulting over plans to close the plant in Treorchy, with the loss of 300 jobs in March.

Terfel joins Hollywood actors Ioan Gruffudd, the "face of Burberry", and Rhys Ifans in supporting the campaign.

Meanwhile, Welsh Secretary Peter Hain has told Burberry's senior management that many workers would not accept an offer of alternative work in Yorkshire.

Terfel said: "If Burberry see sense and keep this factory open, I will wear Burberry clothes and carry Burberry bags."

The star was speaking after Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans asked him for his backing for the anti-closure campaign.

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

He said: "I have asked Jill to convey to the Burberry workers my hope that 2007 will bring better news and that the future of the plant and the jobs can be secured."

Ms Evans said: "Christmas and New Year will be a period of great uncertainty for the Burberry workers and their families who do not know what the future holds."

Welsh Secretary Peter Hain confirmed he has told Burberry management that workers from south Wales would be unlikely to take up offers of alternative jobs in Yorkshire.

Management told him that if a rescue plan could not be found, the 300 workers could be offered jobs at the company's factories in Castleford and Rotherham.

Reconsider

Mr Hain and unions met Burberry senior management in London on Thursday.

A spokesman for Mr Hain said: "As part of the negotiations, they were telling us that if a rescue plan couldn't be found for the company in Treorchy then they (managers) would be offering opportunities for anyone who wanted to move to their Yorkshire factories, and they would provide financial support for employees to do that."

Burberry plans to expand its plants at Castleford in west Yorkshire and Rotherham in south Yorkshire, where the company makes trench coats.

The spokesman added: "Mr Hain made the point that many employees wouldn't want to take up those opportunities in Yorkshire."

Mr Hain had already written to the company calling it to reconsider its decision.

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

The GMB union is campaigning with local politicians to keep the factory open.

Actor and comedy writer Boyd Clack, star of BBC Wales' High Hopes and Satellite City, has also backed the campaign and recorded a video message, claiming Burberry was taking a "short term view".

Workers from the factory have taken their campaign to the label's top London stores.

Burberry said the consultation process at Treorchy was continuing, and added that the company did not intend to abandon the UK, where it employs 2,000 people.




SEE ALSO
Gruffudd supports Burberry fight
27 Nov 06 |  South East Wales

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