British Minister Slams Burberry As Jobs Go To China

How can an 'iconic British brand' be manufactured in China, asks minister.

Government minister Peter Hain blasted British luxury goods retailer Burberry over its plans to close a factory in south Wales and transfer production to China. In a letter to Burberry's chief executive Angela Ahrendts, the Northern Ireland secretary urged the upmarket firm to reconsider its decision.

Hain said he understood why workers at the plant in Treorchy, near his Neath constituency, felt cheated by the move, which will cost around 300 jobs. "It will also have a devastating effect on the families of Burberry workers and, indeed, on the whole community of Treorchy," Hain wrote.

"With Burberry having recorded profits of 84 million pounds (US$166 million), I can understand why Burberry's workers feel cheated by the company's decision."

"Burberry's international success is based firmly in its 150-year-old roots in Britain, and I am particularly proud that this international success story is based in Wales. How is it possible for such an iconic British brand to be manufactured anywhere other than Britain?"

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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