Monday, 26 July 2010

Another Burberry Own Goal

I found it hard to contain my anger earlier this month when I learned of the obscene pay package that has been awarded to Burberry boss Angela Ahrendts.

Following their immoral decision to cast aside decades of hard work and loyalty from their 300-strong Treorci workforce by moving production to China in 2007, I had hoped we wouldn’t be hearing from these supposed bastions of Britishness again.

The dust has barely settled on the monumental PR disaster in Treorci, but the company has been at it again this week. In a move that is sure to reinforce many people’s disdain for Burberry, Ms Ahrendts received salary, bonus and benefits – including an unspecified clothing allowance – of £3.2m for the year to the end of March. In addition she received matching share and option payouts worth £2.9m.

This cash windfall, worth more than £6 million, could have been used to keep production in South Wales. Instead, the profits from selling out a dedicated workforce, that stuck by the company through thick and thin, have been ‘trousered’ by one person.

I can't imagine how the former Troerci workers, some of who have devoted all of their working life to Burberry, are feeling now. This is yet another example of the greed of the fat cats being placed before the very people that allowed them to make a profit in the first place.

The cutlure of excessive bonuses was an obvious factor in the cause of the recent banking collapse. It handsomely rewarded banking executives for playing a high-risk, high reward strategy. It has been referred to as casino capitalism. That it is still being tolerated, beggars belief.

It is interesting that the companies that are taking a more principled attitude to the way they treat their workforce; John Lewis and Admiral Insurance are two names that spring to mind, are the ones that seem to be doing very well despite the difficult economic situation.

Perhaps Ms Ahrendts and the rest of the overpaid fat cats, from whatever sector of industry they work in, should take heed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The only solution I can think of is to demand the government nationalises the plants facing closure. It might make the companies think twice if they can't relocate a load of very expensive machinery to wherever they're outsourcing to.
We tried making this demand to New Labour, but every time they refused to step in, and as we've seen, a lot of jobs and workplaces around Wales have been lost.

This situation's bound to get a lot worse under the Conservative/Liberal government, but if Wales can get more independence in the coming months, there's hope.

Michael Johnson