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The imposing Caterpillar construction machinery plant in Gosselies, on the outskirts of the city of Charleroi, appears to be running idle. The workers are on site but are refusing to go back to work. Brand new diggers are blocking one of the entrances.

A few metres away, crosses have been erected to symbolise the funeral of the manufacturing site. On each of them, workers have inscribed their starting date at Caterpillar and 2 September 2016, the day on which the financial director of the US multinational, Mark Thomson, travelled especially from Illinois to announce the plant’s closure.

The measure is expected to lead to the redundancies of no less than 2200 workers by 2017. When adding the workers employed by Caterpillar’s subcontractors, the number of Belgian families at risk rises to between 5000 and 7500.

(equaltimes 23 Sep 2016)

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