Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/454/5455
Build the campaign to save Burberry
"BURBERRY IS going to make £170 million, this year", a Burberry worker told the socialist. "But that's not enough for this company. We're making (designer) polo shirts for £10 and they're selling them for £80. But they want to go elsewhere and make them on slave-labour wages for £2-£3. It's just pure greed".
Socialist Party Wales
Workers at the plant in Treorchy, south Wales were stunned on 6 September, when management from London arrived to tell them their plant was closing. They hadn't even consulted the union, the GMB. Ten new youngsters had started the day before. They couldn't believe it.
"They said on the news", said one worker, "that manufacturing was going out of Wales, because we're too expensive. But we're on the minimum wage. Production is up 25%, this year and quality is at 98%. The order books are chock-a-block.
"We'll fight tooth and nail to save these jobs. All we need to work out is what to do to keep the plant open. These 300 jobs are vital to Treorchy. Burberry is the biggest manufacturer left at the top of the valley".
The workforce has distributed leaflets throughout the plant. Already they are refusing to do overtime.
Support from people in the area has been strong, as well. Hundreds signed a Socialist Party petition on Saturday morning. Over 80 shops have put up posters.
Trade unionists from across industry pledged their support, when they attended a meeting called by the Campaign for a New Workers' Party. Rob Williams, TGWU convenor at the threatened Ford's Visteon plant in Swansea warned against leaving decisions to others:
"These jobs belong to the workforce", he said. "And they have the right to decide what happens to them.
"If you fight, you may win. Lobbying is all very well, but it didn't save 6,000 jobs at Longbridge. It didn't save 3,500 at Llanwern. And it hasn't saved plant after plant in the Rhondda.
"It's going to come down to how hard the workforce fights. Right now, all the problems are yours. You need to get Burberry on the back foot."
"Burberry change their mind from day to day", said one worker. "They only decided to bring in a new line two weeks ago. There are machines in the plant that have never been used. We'll just have to make them change their minds this time.
"We're not going to leave them walk over us anymore. Time we bit back."
- Keep the Burberry Treorchy plant open.
- No job cuts.
- No cuts in conditions.
- Involve the plants at Castleford and Rotherham.
- Build a mass community campaign to defend jobs and conditions.
Public meeting, Thursday, 14 September, Treorchy Rugby Club, 7pm.
In The Socialist 14 September 2006:
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party campaigns
Socialist Party workplace news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis