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Article

18 May 2020

Author:
Reuters

Germany to ban subcontracting in meatpacking industry after virus outbreaks, according to draft govt. proposal

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"Germany to ban subcontracting in meatpacking industry after virus outbreaks", 15 May 2020

Germany will order meatpacking plants to stop using subcontractors and to improve hygiene standards in the workplace and accommodations, after more than 600 cases of coronavirus among workers in the industry, a draft government proposal said.

Labour Minister Hubertus Heil of the Social Democrats [...] plans to present the proposals to Germany’s “corona cabinet” on Monday. Reuters reviewed a draft.

Recent outbreaks have shone a spotlight on a sector that relies on workers from Eastern European countries, especially Romania, often hired by subcontractors and living in cramped accommodation near processing plants.

“Insufficient hygiene and a lack of safety measures, especially in accommodation and during transport, can lead to infections among workers and subsequent dangerous outbreaks,” the labour ministry’s draft proposal said.

Infections at slaughterhouses in several German states have been accompanied by reports that social distancing and hygiene standards were ignored, it added.

Most recently, an outbreak at a meat producer in the western German town of Coesfeld made headlines after mass testing revealed that more than a quarter of the 1,000 workers had contracted the coronavirus...

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