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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 February 2007, 20:23 GMT
Burberry plant protests go global
Protesters outside the Burberry store on 57th Street in New York City.

The campaign against the closure of Burberry's south Wales factory has been taken to six cities across the world.

Co-ordinated protests against closure were held in London, Paris, New York, Chicago, Strasbourg and Las Vegas.

But Burberry said: "These international protests have become unrelated to the closure of a polo shirt factory in Wales."

The closure next month of the plant in Treorchy, Rhondda, will see 300 jobs lost and the work moved overseas.

The clothing firm announced in September that it planned to end production at the factory because the plant was not "commercially viable".

These international protests have become unrelated to the closure of a polo shirt factory in Wales

A campaign by workers, the GMB union and local politicians has been fought to save the plant with a number of celebrities recruited.

They include singer Sir Tom Jones, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, actors Michael Sheen, Ioan Gruffudd, Rhys Ifans and Emma Thompson, opera star Bryn Terfel and singer/presenter Charlotte Church.

The latest celebrity name to back the campaign is comedian and author Ben Elton.

A protester outside the London store on Wednesday
There was another presence outside the Burberry store in London

He said: "It is of course to be hoped that such a distinctly British brand as Burberry should continue to be British in reality."

Co-ordinated demonstrations took place in London, Paris, Strasbourg, New York, Chicago and Las Vegas on St Valentine's Day, which the GMB union said were backed by local trade unionists, with south Wales members of the GMB travelling to Paris and New York.

In addition, Labour MEPs in the European Parliament asked colleagues to sign a giant Valentine's Day card called "stop Burberry breaking our hearts" to draw attention to the campaign.

Welsh MEP Eluned Morgan said: "The company's sales are booming and profits are healthy. There is absolutely no reason for the company to pull out of the Rhondda Valley.

"I and my European colleagues today urge Burberry to rediscover its sense of corporate social responsibility and keep its Treorchy factory open."

Welsh assembly members in Cardiff met GMB official Mervyn Burnett to sign a similar card to be sent to Burberry chief executive Angela Ahrendts.

Assembly members signing card in Cardiff Bay
Assembly members in Cardiff sign a Valentine's card for Burberry chief executive

Rhondda AM Leighton Andrews said: "Burberry prides itself on being a British brand of international standing. We are taking the message internationally that Burberry is undermining its brand by exporting these jobs from Britain."

In a statement, Burberry said it was committed to manufacturing in Britain.

A spokesperson said: "These international protests have become unrelated to the closure of a polo shirt factory in Wales.

"Our focus continues to be on re-skilling the workforce and finding alternative employment close to the site in Treorchy, in the Rhondda area of south Wales for staff still looking for work.

"Even with the proposed changes to sourcing, Asia will represent less than 10% of our production.

"Burberry is wholly committed to Britain, with almost half its global workforce of 4650 staff based in the UK including 600 employed in manufacturing roles in Yorkshire where we make our iconic trench coats."

Actor Sheen backs Burberry fight
11 Feb 07 |  South East Wales
Row over 'Burberry hate campaign'
04 Feb 07 |  Mid Wales

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