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ArcelorMittal’s Liège closure ‘a catastrophe’

Keywords: Tags  ArcelorMittal, Liege, IndustriALL

LONDON — ArcelorMittal SA’s closure plans for its steelworks at Liège in Belgium have been deemed unacceptable by trade union representatives.

“ArcelorMittal’s announcement regarding Liège is a catastrophe for the region,” Bart Samyn, deputy general secretary of IndustriAll, Europe’s largest trade union, told AMM sister publication Steel First Jan. 28.

The steelmaker said last week that it will permanently close six finishing lines and a coke plant at the Belgian steelworks due to “further weakening of the European economy and the resultant low demand for its products.”

Samyn explained that ArcelorMittal now faces the threat of nationalization of what remains of the Liège steelworks. Major political parties in Belgium are already discussing the possibilities.

Between 4,000 and 5,000 people went on strike following the Liège closure announcement, including people both directly and indirectly employed by the company. Protesters in the area clashed with police Jan. 25 in what local media described as violent demonstrations of discontent.

A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Steel First.

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