On the 1st October 2012, ArcelorMittal, the international steel company, has announced the closure of two blast furnaces of its plant of Florange (Moselle) with up to 629 job cuts on a total workforce of 2,500 employees.
The two units were temporarily stopped 14 month before this announcement. The management has launched an information consultation process with employee representatives in France and on EU level, as the group also decided to close a site in Liège (Belgium).
Previously, the management of ArcelorMittal tried to find an investor for the plant. There were long discussions on someone taking over the furnaces or the whole plant. At some point, it was discussed if the company could be nationalized. These plans failed.
The government and ArcelorMittal concluded an agreement on the closure on the 30th November 2012. The outcome is that ArcelorMittal commits to keeping the French site open and invest 180 million euros in Florange. Additionally, the workforce will be cut (621 job cuts instead of 629) on a voluntary basis (e.g. early retirement, internal mobility) in the framework of a collective agreement negotiated with unions.
The closure has raised much political debate about the closure of site that are actually profit making.