FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
BERLIN – Germany has already become “the disaster of the Tönnies“. Went up to the 1,330 of the infected by Covid-19 in the largest slaughterhouse in Europe, Guetersloh, in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The infection spreads by the hour, as they arrive at the results of the swabs and completed yesterday on the approximately 6500 employees of Tönnies, the company that owns the plant. You are still missing the results of about 2 thousand levies.
The plant is closed from the beginning of the week just passed, as well as the schools and the nests of the entire district of Guetersloh. Employees and management were all put in quarantine close. More, since many families live in a particular area of the city of Verl, not far from the factory, has been created also a red zonein which there are about 670 people. By Thursday, the Bundeswehr, the federal army, was mobilised.
The situation is very tense. You also fear unrest and social protests that, if the closures and restrictive measures should be put in force, the prospect for nothing excluded. Yesterday morning, the minister-president of the Land, Armin Laschet, has made a visit to Guetersloh to meet with the committee of emergency that is managing the crisis and assess from near the gravity of the situation. Laschet, who is also one of the three candidates for the leadership of the Cdu for the succession with Angela Merkel, has warned of the risk of a new wave of the pandemic and has not ruled out restoring the lock-down in the whole federal State. The minister of Health of North Rhine-Westphalia, has meanwhile placed the mandatory test for the entire field of meat processing, which occupies approximately 20 thousand employees and is considered to be particularly at risk.
In the case of Tönnies has brought to the foreground a very serious reality, health and social care, linked to the meat industry in Germany. “Our confidence in the company, Tönnies, is equal to zero”he said Thomas Kuhlbusch, head of the crisis unit of Guetersloh.
According to the version of Clemens Tönnis, head of the company and famous for being the owner of the football team of the Bundesliga Schalke 04, the primary cause of the infection would be the hundreds of foreign workers, the majority of Polish and Romanian. In the long weekend of June 11, they visited their families in their Countries of origin, the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, where you would get infected. Upon returning to Germany, many of them have travelled together in the bus is overcrowded even for 17 hours.
But the dirty secret of the group and of the entire sector of meat processing in Germany is in fact right the condition of work and life of the Gastarbeiter, foreign, coming from 87 countries. They are often housed in mass dormitories unhealthy, where is not respected, any measure of health or safety. And they are paid with wages much lower than the minimum in force in Germany, thanks to the fiction of being hired by a company sub-contractors, employers, the officials of about half of the workers at the plant Tönnies. (Here’s the insight: why the virus spreads so easily in the slaughterhouses?)
All of this Tönnis not the word, rejecting any responsibility. Not only. The committee of emergency disputes in the company you have not provided a complete list of addresses of all the employeesthereby preventing the immediate check of the extension of the infection and isolation. On Friday it was still at least a third. Only in the early hours of Saturday, authorities have had access to all the contact details of 6500 employees.
The story also has a spill-over from political. The minister of Foreign affairs, Heiko Maas, has criticized Laschet, who at the first news of the outbreak in the system of Guetersloh, he had indicated in the workers Polish and Romanian managers of the infection, without reference to the conditions in which they are kept. Laschet is then corrected. But Maas, with the thought of relations with Warsaw and Bucharest, he invited him to apologize to pe lre his statements “dangerous.” Meanwhile, the head of deputies the greens in the regional parliament, Anton Hofreiter, called the chains of supermarkets the boycott of the products of Tönnies.
21st of June 2020 (edit June 21, 2020 | 17:54)
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