Caterpillar considers closing Belgian site, laying off 2,000

Looking at shifting production to France and other facilities outside Europe.

September 2, 2016   by ASSOCIATED PRESS

BRUSSELS — US heavy equipment maker Caterpillar says it may close a Belgian manufacturing site and lay off about 2,000 workers, an announcement met with dismay and alarm by employees and the government.

Prime Minister Charles Michel and Economy Minister Kris Peeters were expected to attend an emergency meeting with leaders of the Wallonia regional government, home to Caterpiller’s Gosselies site. Paul Magnette, leader of the regional government, sought meetings with unions and company management.

Magnette told local media he was scandalized by Caterpillar’s announcement since the Gosselies site had been given government financial support.

In post on its website, Caterpillar said that in line with its September 2015 global restructuring plan, it was considering shifting production of construction equipment now at Gosselies to Grenoble, France, and other facilities outside Europe.

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