Belgium -Turmoil continues at ArcelorMittal -February 01, 2013

Steelmaking giant ArcelorMittal announced that it would shut down six cold-processing facilities in the Liege region, eliminating 1,300 jobs and triggering a call for a general strike at sites still open by trade unions. ArcelorMittal, already embroiled in controversy in France over the closure of two blast furnaces, blamed weak demand for cars and cutbacks in auto plants for fall in demand for steel. The company said it had proposed a flexible work model which was rejected by trades unions, but which would have enabled the facilities to adapt to demand. According to union officials the closures amount to a ‘social cataclysm for the region’. They cited 70,000 redundancies in Europe by the company as proof of his argument. The numbers employed in the Belgian steel business — like coal or shipbuilding beforehand in other one-time powerhouse industries — have collapsed from some 34,000 in 1981 to fewer than 10,000 in 2013. The workers decide to go back to work but to continue with the protests.   

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