Caterpillar, an American manufacturer of construction and mining machinery, has announced the closure of its facility in Gosselies with the loss of over 2,000 jobs. The company's distribution centres in both Zeebrugge and Grimbergen will not be affected but all manufacturing production will be moved from Gosselies to the company's site at Grenoble in France as well as other international sites outside Europe. Company representatives attributed the planned closure to the excessive size of the production area at Gosselies, associated higher production costs as well as the possibility to produce elsewhere at lower cost. Faced with a decline in demand for its products due to weak commodity prices, the company announced a global restructuring plan in September 2015 involving between 5-10,000 job losses.
Trade unions have criticised Caterpillar management for favouring the interests of shareholders and neglecting those of their employees. No concrete actions by the different trade unions have been announced yet. According to RTBF, based on copies of the company's formal notification to the Belgian employment services of the impending collective dismissal, nearly all of the job losses will take place between April and July 2017.
In an earlier restructuring announced in 2013, over 1300 employees were made redundant from the Gosselies facility.