Canadian Manufacturing

Caterpillar mulls closure of its Belgian manufacturing plant

Closing the plant in the Wallonia region, which had been given government financial support, would impact 2,000 workers



Caterpillar 6060 FS Hydraulic Mining Shovel.

Caterpillar 6060 FS Hydraulic Mining Shovel.

BRUSSELS—U.S. 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 Friday he was scandalized by Caterpillar’s announcement since the Gosselies site had been given government financial support.

In a 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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