Burberry workers will be protesting today outside the company’s shops in London, Paris, Strasbourg, New York, Chicago and Las Vegas in an attempt to stop the clothing firm’s plans to shut its factory in the Rhondda valley and transfer 300 jobs to China next month.
The GMB union has enlisted the support of Kate Moss, Emma Thompson, Sir Tom Jones, Ben Elton and Manchester United football boss, Sir Alex Ferguson amongst other distinguished luminaries in the battle against the shutdown.
Some highly distinguished Welsh (cough) musicians will also be playing a benefit gig for the workers at the end of March. The dispute is widely felt to be damaging the image of the company (I’m not joking.) And a Burberry sponsored Bafta party was cancelled last week amid fears of disruption by sacked workers (and possibly celebrities.)
Mervyn Bennet of the union says:
GMB members and supporters will explain direct to shoppers outside the Burberry stores in these cities our demand that the company reverse the closure of the South Wales factory.” adding that the company have refused to reveal how much workers in China will be paid for the work being transferred there from the UK.
Enterprise Minister Andrew Davies said: We think Burberry have a responsibility. They made very substantial profits from Wales as many other companies have – those companies, good companies have a corporate responsibility to their communities and the people they’ve employed.
Burberry are fighting back by employing both a PR Company and David Yelland, (ex of “The Sun,”) to try and rubbish the union’s case in the media. Last month they donated the obsolete factory to the community and underwrote its value at £1 million (R14 million).
The business Community is predictable in its support for the actions of The Burberry company (which supposedly has a a duty to boost profit as much as possible by shifting production to the cheapest location.) Britain’s economy is (supposedly) growing because we are good at shutting down old factories and shifting people into higher-value jobs.
What “higher value jobs?” Call centres and sales on commission? “Re-training courses” and the dole? What a lot of old cobblers – Pass my burberry trenchcoat, we may as well be chavs for today because employers like Burberry are certainly determined to make us all into the underclass of the very near future.
The London store is at 157 Regent Street, and the demo will run between 5 and 6pm today. Details of other demonstrations around the world can be found here
(If you are not going on the demo you can find out how much of a chav you are
(I’m only 38% chav myself – a surprisingly low score I think you’ll agree…)