Caterpillar said it was contemplating the closure of its Gosselies excavator production plant in Belgium, with the loss of around 2,000 jobs.

The company said production of the machines made at Gosselies could switch to other manufacturing sites, including its plant in Grenoble, France, and other sites outside of Europe.

Caterpillar said the announcement was the start of a consultation process “which could result in the closure of the Gosselies site and a collective lay-off”, and was part of the company-wide restructuring and cost savings plan announced in September 2015.

As part of the closure, Cat said it may also allocate component production to external suppliers and other Caterpillar facilities.

The Gosselies site had already been reduced in size in 2013 when Caterpillar laid-off around 1400 workers.

Tom Pellette, Caterpillar’s group president with responsibility for Construction Industries, said; “We have to contemplate actions to reduce manufacturing capacity and take operating costs out of our business to align with lower demand.

“Should the intention be confirmed, we will support the local leadership in order to mitigate the impact on our employees, their families and the communities where we’re located”.

Caterpillar announced last September that it could close more than 20 facilities worldwide and that it would cut its workforce by 4,000 to 5,000 by the end of this year.

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