Burberry drops Bafta party sponsorship in face of Welsh factory closure protest

Luxury retailer Burberry has been forced to pull its sponsorship of a pre-Bafta (British Society of Film and Television Arts) party because of union protests over its factory closure.

Burberry’s plant in Rhondda, south Wales, is due to close next month with the loss of 300 jobs.

Factory workers and members of GMB union  were set to protest outside the Bafta nominees party in London on 10 February before the firm decided against sponsoring the celebrity event.

A number of celebrities, including singer Sir Tom Jones, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, and actors Ioan Gruffudd, Rhys Ifans and Emma Thompson, have all joined the campaign to keep the plant open.

Dame Judi Dench also announced last week that she would not attend the Bafta party, according to Rhondda MP Chris Bryant.

Bryant said: “I told Dame Judi’s office we were very grateful that she was lending this support. It sends a strong message to Burberry.”

The firm said it was not “commercially viable” to keep the Rhondda plant running.

Burberry chairman John Peace said in a statement: “We are disappointed because we’d hoped to further support the British film industry, and to celebrate on an international stage British creativity in both film and fashion.”

The party will now be sponsored by Sky TV instead.

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