No Burberry please, we’re Welsh

So it seems that to wear Burberry in Wales now is as to sport the Swastika in Germany.

Of course, not that I am complaining. I’m proud not to own a single checked baseball cap or polo-shirt, but the principle is what is important.

For the wife of an American diplomat to wear a coat by Burberry on Friday when visiting the National Assembly for Wales was headlined in the local rag as a ‘gaffe’ or a ‘clanger’.

I have every sympathy for those who have lost their jobs due to Burberry moving work usually done by the factory in Treorchy to China, but does this mean that for every company that moves out of Wales we need to boycott their products and services?

Lloyds TSB moved a substantial number of jobs from their Newport call centre to Mumbai, India with a loss of 107 jobs and Norwich Union transferred 2,350 jobs to the Indian sub-continent in 2003. Yet, Aviva (parent company of Norwich Union) continue to thrive and are one of the leaders in the UK insurance market.

Fighting for your job, or the jobs of your constituents is an honourable cause, but there comes a time when you must admit defeat, in respect of the greater good.
The campaign, headed at political level by Assembly Member Leighton Andrews has undeniably tarnished the reputation of Wales as a place to set-up business.

In the current climate, it is a given fact that companies require greater flexibility than ever, in a global market which one day would be fine, the next, as we saw last week with the market plunges across the globe, we could be in a totally different situation where jobs need to be moved in order to ensure the survival of the business.

Unfortunately, what Mr Andrews and his colleagues are doing in continuing this campaign against Burberry is portraying Wales as a country which will fight to the bitter end and do everything that can be done to discredit organisations who try to remove jobs from the country.

How would this look to a prospective factory owner or big business who want to find somewhere to put their new call-centre? Surely this would make us look hostile and most certainly not a great country with which to do business. This crusade to save 300 jobs may halt the creation of thousands in the future, and it has been said the at least 1/3 of the employees of the Treorchy factory have already found new jobs, so who knows any many more will find alternative employment once the gates are shut for the last time, the placards are put away and attention is on future livelihoods.
The politicians may make out like it is, and the people believe them, but I’m sure that the closure of this factory will not spell the end of Treorchy, just as, though again it was promised by MP’s and union heads, the closure of the coal mines did not wipe out the Valleys as a whole in the 1980’s.

Treorchy has been given a decent settlement from Burberry; £150,000 a year to a community fund, to run for 10 years, a ‘loyalty bonus’ to staff and the company will hand over the factory to the community to be used as they wish.

The factory is due to close at the end of this month.

Go Red for Wales 2007

March 1st is St Davids Day, the Princes Trust also use this day to raise money under the moniker “Go Red for Wales”.

The company that I work for put a lot of effort into this day and this year there was a lot going on throughout the building all day, from throwing wet sponges at managers to leg waxing.

For the Wii Sports tournament that I organised, Cardiff Blues & Welsh international players Rhys Williams & Robin Sowden-Taylor came along to help raise the profile of the tournament and raise even more cash for the Princes Trust.

The final total is yet to be released, as there are still auctions running, but the amount is currently at over £3,000.

F1 2007

Heikki Kovalainen

F1 rookie Heikki Kovalinen gets his tenure with the Renault team off to a good start, by throwing the brand new 2007 car into a barrier during testing at Circuit de Catalunya, Spain.

The new season, which begins on the 17th of March has been given an extensive preview at I don’t think I can add any more to that really.