ArcelorMittal cuts 1300 jobs

Steel maker ArcelorMittal has cut 1300 jobs at its cold pressed steel manufacturing facilities.

It announced that it will close six of its processing facilities in Belgium, according to The West.

It comes amidst a global slide in the demand for steel, and has trigged a call for mass strikes by trade unions and seen Belgium's prime minster force a face to face meeting with Indian owner Lakshmi Mittal.

"I support the workers," prime minister Elio Di Rupo said on Twitter.

"This is the first message for our meeting this afternoon.

"I will also convey the incomprehension of the Belgian authorities" at this decision, Di Rupo added.

Workers blamed local management, stating that "we're dead", and took to burning tyres and wooden pallets outside of the company's headquarters.

Steel pressing and manufacturing has been hit hard worldwide, with Australian operations at Kurri Kurri and Port Melbourne shutting down in the last 12 months alone.

In a report by Ernst & Young released last week, analysts predicted that steelmakers will face a tough year in 2013, with supply outpacing demand and the strong Australian dollar cutting into profits.

E&Y head of global mining and metals Mike Elliott said government subsidies around the world were partly to blame for the oversupply, with unprofitable factories relying on handouts to stay afloat.

“Some of the zombie mills are those which really commercially should be shut but, in many places around the world, continued government subsidies, direct and indirect, are actually keeping them as part of capacity,” he said.

Elliott said 2013 would be a “major year of restructure” for the steel sector, and rising debts would force many manufacturers to either sell off parts of their business or close their doors completely.

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