French ArcelorMittal workers' steely determination to block plant closure

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With just two weeks to go before the first round of the French presidential elections, growing anger over the uncertain fate of one of the last major steel-making plants in France has returned the issues of de-industrialization, globalization and the social responsibility of corporations to the fore of the political agenda. Exhausted but triumphant, a group of workers from the ArcelorMittal steel mill in Florange, north-east France, finally reached Paris on Friday amid public cheers and a battery of TV cameras after a marathon ten-day, 330-kilometre march in protest at the feared closure of part of their plant. Mathieu Magnaudeix was there to follow the men, now known across France as ‘the ArcelorMittals’, who have become the heroes of a decimated industrial heartland.

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With just two weeks to go before the first round of the French presidential elections, growing anger over the uncertain fate of one of the last major steel-making plants in France has returned the issues of de-industrialization, globalization and the social responsibility of corporations to the fore of the political agenda.