Caterpillar, a U.S. multinational corporation, recently announced its intention to close its plant in Gosselies, Belgium, where it manufactures heavy machinery. While the news was not unexpected, it still came as a shock to the 2,200 employees who will lose their jobs. In 2013, 1,400 jobs were lost in a restructuring.
Walloon Minister-President Paul Magnette said he was shocked and scandalized by the announcement, because “Caterpillar has always enjoyed massive support from the Walloon authorities, especially after the 2013 job cuts.” It is estimated that — directly and indirectly — 6,000 to 7,000 jobs could be lost, including positions with suppliers and subcontractors. Production will be moved to manufacturing facilities in Grenoble, France, and to other manufacturing facilities outside Europe. Financial experts are pondering the link between Caterpillar’s actions and the state of corporate taxation in Belgium.
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