Job cuts: Workers at a demonstration at the Arcelor Mittal steel plant in Villaverde
DOZENS of workers protested on Thursday (January 26) over the closure of an Arcelor Mittal steel factory in Madrid which employs 324 people, a blow in a country already suffering record-high unemployment.They gathered blowing horns and whistles outside the plant in Villaverde, in the southern suburbs of Madrid, which made steel girders for construction before going idle in October.A union source in Luxembourg, where Arcelor Mittal is based, said on Tuesday (January 24) that the company, the world’s largest steelmaker, had confirmed it is closing the plant “for an indeterminate period”.It said it would redeploy staff elsewhere in Spain and left open the possibility of the site reopening at a later date “if market conditions allow”, according to union leader Edouard Martin.The management of Villaverde said the plant was losing money. Demonstrators accused the company of misleading them and said their livelihoods were at risk, despite its promise to redeploy staff.Arcelor Mittal employs 11,000 people in Spain, which at the last count had a 21.5-per cent unemployment rate, the highest in the industrial world.Arcelor Mittal has announced closures in Belgium and Luxembourg and there are also concerns over sites in Poland and the Czech Republic.It reported that third-quarter 2011 output fell by 29 per cent in a division that included sites in Britain, Greece, Italy, the north African Maghreb region, Portugal and Spain.
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