Work on the meat factory in Dissen continues

Dhe meat factory in Dissen, Lower Saxony, is allowed to continue working for the time being, although 92 employees there are infected with the corona virus. A spokesman for the district of Osnabrück told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that an agreement had been reached on Monday morning with the Lower Saxony state authorities to evaluate the operation as part of the critical infrastructure.

Reinhard Bingener

Reinhard Bingener

Political correspondent for Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Bremen based in Hanover.

The Dissen company specializes in sow cutting, of which there are very few in Germany. According to the district, hundreds of tons of meat are still stored in the company, and large quantities of meat are already on the way to Dissen. This delivery could not be stopped anymore. Since the slaughtered sows cannot be frozen for long periods of time and cannot switch to other farms, the choice is either to keep the business in Dissen running or to dispose of the meat. The latter was “not ethically responsible,” said the spokesman for the district. Therefore, in the coming days, uninfected employees are likely to process what “can no longer be stopped.” After that, the company should close for a fortnightly quarantine.

Employees from the same subcontractor

A few days ago, the state of Lower Saxony announced that it would test all slaughterhouse employees for the corona virus after the outbreaks in neighboring countries. The tests in the facility in Dissen were brought forward due to a “notice”. The factory is owned by the two companies Danish Crown and Westfleisch. A few days ago, around 250 employees tested positive for the virus in another Westfleisch company in Coesfeld, North Rhine-Westphalia. According to the current assessment of the authorities, there was no shifting of employees between the two companies as in other cases. However, according to FAZ information, the employees are provided by the same subcontractor.

The infected employees in Dissen come mainly from Poland and Romania. Many of them were housed in collective accommodation. Even if they now live in single rooms there, there is a high risk of infection via the communal kitchens and sanitary facilities, said the spokesman for the Osnabrück district.

This Monday, the Corona cabinet in Berlin actually wanted to advise on stricter requirements for the meat industry, in particular with regard to working conditions, work contracts and subcontracting. However, the topic was removed from the agenda and postponed to Wednesday due to the need for further consultation.

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