Arcelor to close French furnaces

ArcelorMittal has told unions it will permanently close two mothballed furnaces in northeastern France, enraging workers who blocked access to the steel plant and management offices at the site yesterday. In a blunt response to the Socialist government’s demand last week to restart or sell the furnaces, ArcelorMittal said it would give the state a two-month window to try to find a buyer before it shuts down the site. It said the closure would affect 629 workers out of a total 2,700 at the Florange plant, near the German border, and said it would try and move as many as possible to new jobs. Angry workers, who believed the closures were to be temporary, yesterday blockaded the plant and offices.