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Belgian steelworkers clash with police after plant shuts

Belgian steelworkers clash with police after plant shuts
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Steel workers clashed with police outside the Belgian Prime Minister’s office in Liege in protest over the closure of a major steel facility.

In a statement, steelmaking giant ArcelorMittal said they sustained an operating loss of 200 million euros in the first nine months of 2012.

The closure means up to 1300 workers will lose their jobs.

“I don’t know what I’ll do, I don’t have any idea,” said one of the workers. “I think many of us are in the same situation and it’ll get worse if we don’t do anything. If Mittal isn’t thrown out of Belgium, it’s an open door for others, if he starts down this path”.

The workers are angry at what they see as the company reneging on earlier promises to keep the ‘cold’ side of the steel business operating.

Didier Reynders, the Belgian Foreign Minister told euronews: “There is less and less confidence in Mr Mittal because after so many promises and then so many huge decisions, it’s quite difficult to discuss with him”.

ArcelorMittal said that unions had rejected an offer to keep the plant’s six lines operating between zero and one hundred percent, depending on market demand.

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