Belgian workers hold ArcelorMittal executives hostage

4th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Belgian workers kept six executives of world steel giant ArcelorMittal locked up in their office for a second straight day Tuesday, as they demanded the reopening of blast furnaces.

Around 150 protesters were preventing the managers from leaving their fourth-floor office in the southern city of Liege as negotiations hit a standstill, company spokesman Etienne Botton said.

"Conditions are terrible. We had to sleep on the floor and were woken up regularly," Botton said. "Yesterday, we ordered pizzas but the boxes were empty when they arrived."

The executives were not physically attacked and were able to eat Tuesday morning, he added.

Unions said they would continue their action until their demands are met. They want the company, which employs 3,000 people in Liege, to restart activity at two blast furnaces and keep 300 interim workers employed.

Arcelor Mittal wants to keep only 200 workers at the furnaces and said it would only return to the negotiating table when the executives in Liege are freed.

Based in Luxembourg, ArcelorMittal is run by Indian chairman and chief executive Lakshmi Mittal.

© 2011 AFP

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