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    04 February, 2007

    Janet Street-Poseur

    Janet Street-Porter is in a bit of a strop about the campaign being run by the Burberry workers in Treorchy. She claims it is a 'campaign of hate' designed to damage Burberry's brand around the world.

    Well, it's Burberry that has decided to undermine its own brand by shifting production and jobs from Britain to China, despite selling itself as 'a luxury brand of distinctive British sensibility.'

    Street-Porter has decided to give Independent on Sunday readers the management line. What she doesn't tell them is that Burberry's designer, Christopher Bailey, is a mate of hers. In November, Ms Street-Porter described him as 'the brand's charming design director' who 'not only comes from the North, he still has a house near where he grew up in Halifax.'

    It was Mr Bailey who was due to be the host at Burberry's BAFTA party. His name was on all the invitations. (An invitee sent me one). I'm sorry Street-Porter's friend won't get to host his party.

    Peter Hain rightly reminds us of Street-Porter's form.

    Today Street-Porter claims we are endangering other Burberry jobs in Britain.

    Three months ago, she said something different:

    Bailey designs beautiful clothes for a brand that is seen as truly British worldwide. The trouble is, soon only the actual drawings that he does will be made in the UK.

    On that occasion, she recognised what we have always said, that Burberry is moving from being a manufacturer to being solely a designer/retailer. If it's Treorchy tomorrow, it will be the Yorkshire jobs next.

    But consistency is not the hallmark of a columnist.

    Street-Porter has swallowed the management line completely:

    Mindful that the ensuing row could damage itsreputation and share price, it has been generous, going through a consultation period, delaying closure by three months to March, improving the redundancy package so that over a third of the workforce will get more than a year's salary, offering training, and donating the factory to the community.

    A few facts: the three month consultation is a legal requirement. The three-month extension was forced on Burberry by the campaign. Most workers will get less than £5000 in redundancy (Burberry's CEO earns this in half a day). Re-training is subsidised by the Assembly. For the last five months, Burberry has been telling us that the factory is worthless and will cost substantial sums - £250,000 at least for insurance/electrics - to put right.

    Street-Porter is a joke. If she is all Burberry can muster, they're in real trouble.

    Rhondda TV
    The Labour Party

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    Promoted by Leighton Andrews AM, National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff CF99 1NA.

    Author's editorial policy: This blog does not publish anonymous comments, unless they are really witty and I like them. If you have something to say, then have the courage of your convictions and use your name or an identifiable alias. Even then I reserve the right not to publish comments that are malicious, defamatory, stupid, pointlessly cynical or boring. Any of the statements or comments made above should be regarded as personal and not necessarily those of the National Assembly for Wales, any constituent part or connected body.