according to The Guardian, these measures is caused by the fact that some German slaughterhouses have become “hot spots” of coronavirus. Several meat processing plants across the country temporarily closed after hundreds of workers in recent weeks was recorded positive for COVID-19.
this week more than 90 workers were sick at the factory in Diessen, in the land of lower Saxony. After the outbreak of the pandemic at the plant in Kesfeld, where more than 270 of the 1,200 staff had been positive for the coronavirus, the government of North Rhine-Westphalia announced a mass testing of workers in the industry. In addition, there was an outbreak at the plant in the district of Straubing-Bogen in Bavaria.
“Outbreak of coronavirus does not surprise us, – said Jonas Bol from the German Union of manufacturers of food, beverages and catering. Rather the surprise was that the pandemic took a while to appear. Employees not only work closely, but some also live together in very cramped conditions when there is no possibility to maintain social distance”.
As in Ireland, the UK and the US, observers say, the administration of slaughterhouses in Germany are accused of failing to protect their employees. In the words of Hubertus Haylya, Minister of labour and social Affairs of Germany, a large number of infections showed that the industry urgently needs to take emergency measures to improve health and safety. Estimated Fair Mobility, civil society organizations, supporting Eastern European migrant workers in Germany, of more than 90 thousand employees in large meat processing plants in Germany, about two-thirds are hired through subcontractors.
From the first of January 2021 the use of subcontractors is prohibited, and large meat-processing companies will be able to use only those workers whom they hire directly. “This is a historic moment, – commented this decision Christine Chemnitz, head of agricultural policy of the Heinrich böll Foundation. – The meat industry can no longer use the operating conditions in the slaughterhouses”.
the Association of the German meat industry have announced support for additional measures to protect health and safety, but expressed the opinion that the ban on the use of subcontractors is “discriminatory”.
Two citizens of Romania, former employee of the Bavarian massacre, told The Guardian that they are not surprised by the outbreaks in the German slaughterhouses. “There were dormitories, where in one room lived 20 migrants. In this house absolutely impossible to be alone,” said one of the interlocutors. According to a source publication, the subcontractors often Zara��atiwat extra money by renting a cheap building – former army barracks or office space – large number of foreign migrant workers.
Another former employee of the slaughterhouse said that during his employment with the subcontractor in the room sometimes there were up to five people, and living conditions in the hostel were terrible. “In the first house, we had cockroaches and mice, and in the second building the room was full of mold. We had no heat in November, while the owners did not bring the electric heater,” – said the interlocutor named Lucas.
According to Fair Mobility, the working day is 12-14 hours is not uncommon in the industry. Lucas said that contractors were pressured to migrants worked in excess of the specified hours. “We were modern slaves,’ he said. – We weren’t allowed to get sick, and if sick, it was a very good chance of losing work.” Finally, workers in slaughterhouses are often isolated from the German community and institutions around them, and have little or no access to information in their native language.