Liege steel employees vote to work and protest

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Liege steel employees vote to work and protest

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Steelworkers employed by Arcelor Mittal in Liege in Belgium are going back to work on Wednesday.

But before they do, they will hold a mass protest in front of the regional government offices in Namur on Tuesday.

Arcelor Mittal plans to close a coke plant and six production lines in Liege, and 1,300 jobs face the axe.

Action is also planned at Arcelor Mittal’s HQ in Luxembourg, and the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

“When you look at what’s happening, when you witness the events, it’s a social tragedy, and we think it is our duty to be present in Namur,” said employee Joseph Ganuzza.

“Arcelor Mittal has killed us all. What can we do? They have dug our grave. And now, we are lying in it,” said another.

Things came to a head in Brussels last Friday, when angry workers clashed with police outside the prime minister’s office.

Inside, government ministers were meeting unions from Arcelor, which is the world’s biggest steelmaker.

The news from Liege is another blow for Belgium after the recent announcement of the closure of the Ford motor factory at Genk, affecting 10,000 jobs.