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Netherlands: Meat workers allegedly 'forced to deny coronavirus symptoms'; MPs call for investigation

"Meat packers ‘forced to deny coronavirus symptoms’, MPs call for answers", 3 August 2020

MPs are calling for an investigation into possible illegal practices concerning workers’ health at a meat packing plant in Helmond and are urging government action.

Workers at Van Rooi Meat, one of the largest slaughterhouses in the Netherlands, told public broadcaster NOS that managers at the plant had urged them to tick the ‘healthy’ box on the daily declaration they are required to sign, even if they had symptoms of coronavirus.

The eight workers who spoke to the broadcaster are from different European countries and work via a jobs agency. They said they had continued to work even when they showed symptoms of coronavirus because they were afraid they would no longer be called in for work.

In May the company had to close for two weeks when a large number of workers were found to be infected with coronavirus. According to the workers the first of two probes by the local health board had been manipulated because they had been told to stay at home.

Van Rooi director Marc van Rooi has denied the allegations, saying his primary concern was to keep the company coronavirus free. He also denied that sick workers would lose their jobs. ‘Let them say tick ‘yes’ on the form [to say they have symptoms, DN] and let’s see what happens,’ he told NOS...

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