Caterpillar to Cut 1,400 Jobs in Belgium image

Caterpillar plans to cut 1, 400 jobs at its plant near Charleroi, Belgium, due to weak European economy and high costs.

The Gosselies plant, located near Charleroi, is one of Caterpillar’s largest facilities in Europe, where the company manufactures hydraulic excavators, engine parts and loading vehicles. The site has 3,700 employees.

“Though they are painful, these measures are indispensable to allow us to be competitive and give a chance of survival to our factory,” said Nicolas Polutnik, CEO of Caterpillar Belgium.

Caterpillar’s job cut move is the latest in string of large-scale job cuts in the Belgium market, with steelmaker ArcelorMittal recently announcing its plans to close plants in Liege, and cut around 1,300 jobs. In October Ford also said it will close the Genk plant and lose 4,000 workers.

“The numbers we have received are a catastrophe, and that in a region like Charleroi…,” a spokeswoman for the socialist FGTB union said.

In August, Doug Oberhelman, the company’s chief executive, said that the economy in Europe is expected to grow again in about five years and that for the first time in his 37-year career he doesn’t know what to predict concerning the global economy in the following year.