Germany aims to protect abattoir workers after mass COVID outbreaks

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Newly proposed rules to ban slaughterhouses from using contracted or temporary workers.

Germany’s slaughterhouses will have to offer contracts to all workers involved in slaughtering, cutting and processing under a new draft law approved by Cabinet ministers Wednesday.

Unions and migrant worker advocates welcomed the legislation, which follows a major coronavirus outbreak at the Tönnies meat plant near Gütersloh in west Germany last month that infected more than 1,500 workers and sparked a regional lockdown.

Pending approval by the Bundestag, the new rules should take effect in 2021.

“With today’s decision, we have put a stop to the untenable practice of subcontracting in the meat industry,” said Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner. In the future, there would be “clear responsibility instead of cascades of shadow companies.”



by Arthur Nelsen & Eleanor Mears

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