OFFBEAT NEWS
July 01, 2009 12:00:00 AM
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A sacked Polish steelworker whose crisis-hit mill faces closure following an EU subsidy battle held a desperate protest Tuesday, sparking a police operation when he climbed a chimney at the site.

The man, who is losing his job along with some 50 fellow workers, scaled the 40-metre (130-foot) chimney early Tuesday at the Buczek mill in Sosnowiec in southern Poland, police said.

He remained aloft for seven hours before police counsellors were able to coax him down.

The 40-year-old, identified only at Rafal S., explained that he felt betrayed by the steel-mill's management.

He said that the workers had been axed despite agreeing to take pay cuts and accept other belt-tightening

The Buczek mill is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy because the global economic crisis has battered the international market for steel. In addition, Brussels ordered the mill to pay back Polish state subsidies that it had received in 2003, but which were later found to flout European Union competition rules.

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