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Fighting to keep Burberry British

Stephen Beard Feb 14, 2007

Fighting to keep Burberry British

Stephen Beard Feb 14, 2007


SCOTT JAGOW: The fashion brand, Burberry, wants to close a plant in South Wales and move that production to China. This has prompted a series of protests around the world today. Our London correspondent Stephen Beard is with us. Stephen, what’s all the fuss about?

STEPHEN BEARD: There are coordinated demonstrations in London, Paris, New York, Chicago, Las Vegas and Strasbourg against the closure of Burberry’s polo shirt factory in Wales with the loss of 300 jobs. And this has attracted some international celebrity back too, with the singer Tom Jones as well as actors Michael Sheen and Emma Thompson. They’re all apparently outraged.

JAGOW: They’re outraged at 300 jobs?

BEARD: Yes I mean the unions involved can hardly believe their good fortune. They’ve been banging on about the perils of globalization for years with getting hardly any concern expressed.

JAGOW: And what is the company saying at this point?

BEARD: They say that they’re closing the factory because it’s no longer commercially viable, and they insist they are not betraying the brand and only 10 percent of the company’s production has been outsourced to Asia.

JAGOW: Yeah, I’m just trying to picture people protesting in polo shirts.

BEARD: Or perhaps trench coats would be more suitable. The whole event is very emotional. They’ve chosen Valentine’s Day for obvious reasons. They’ve organized a protest in the European Parliament with a giant Valentine’s Day card calling on Burberry to “stop breaking our hearts.”

JAGOW: Yeah ’cause I wouldn’t have made that connection between Valentine’s Day and a shirt factory. I’m sorry I just wouldn’t.

BEARD: I take your point.

JAGOW: OK Stephen. Our European correspondent, Stephen Beard, thank you.

BEARD: OK Scott.

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