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Article

13 May 2020

Author:
FRANK JORDANS Associated Press, NBC15

Outbreak at German slaughterhouse reveals migrants' plight

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At least 260 workers at Westfleisch's slaughterhouse in northwestern Germany have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days...

As authorities scrambled to contain the growing outbreak over the weekend, it emerged that many of those infected were Eastern European migrants working for subcontractors who also provide them with accommodation and shuttle buses to work...

[I]n a statement, the company said it was "deeply affected" by what had happened in recent days.

"We are fully aware of our responsibility," Westfleisch said, adding it now requires workers at facilities that remain open to wear face masks on site, have their temperature taken at the gate and work in clearly separated small groups. The company said it is also trying to impress upon workers "the importance of hygiene and behavior measures in the company and in private settings."

The outbreak has caused consternation in Berlin, where German Chancellor Angela Merkel told lawmakers Wednesday that the government plans to make "necessary changes" to rules for the meat industry...

Olaf Klenke of the NGG union, which represents workers in the food industry, says the outbreak could be the right moment to clamp down on outsourcing in the meat industry...

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