Slaughterhouses are hotspots for corona infections – this shows how sick they are

Photo: xy /

Hundreds of employees across the country have been infected with the corona virus in slaughterhouses. This is mainly due to the questionable conditions in slaughterhouse accommodation. This makes one thing even clearer: the meat industry also exploits people radically.

The company “Müller Fleisch” in Birkenfeld near Pforzheim has around 400 infected employees, at a slaughterhouse in Bad Bramstedt more than 100. At the company “Westfleisch” in Coesfeld more than 200 employees infected with the corona virus (status 12.5.). These are just three examples of slaughterhouses where corona infections are on the increase – and the numbers are increasing. Most of those affected are contract workers, often from Eastern Europe.

But why is the virus spreading so strongly in slaughterhouses? “This is the sad result of a sick system,” says the “Union for food, enjoyment, restaurants” (NGG). The organization has long criticized how the meat industry deals with its employees.

Nine people in a three-room apartment

To save costs, slaughterhouses do not employ some of their workers. Instead, they hire subcontractors to provide them with workers from abroad. As a rule, there are migrant workers from Eastern Europe, especially Romania and Bulgaria. The whole thing works through work or loan contracts.

While the workers are employed at the slaughterhouses, they live in collective accommodation. Time online reports of up to nine people in a three-room apartment – ideal conditions for a highly contagious virus.

The price pressure for meat is high

No wonder that so many workers in slaughterhouses have been infected with the corona virus. They are drained because of the hard physical work and are therefore particularly vulnerable anyway. Once someone is infected, the disease can spread quickly in the cramped conditions.

“The Corona Falls are a sad result of the extreme price pressure on meat. This crisis shows how overdue it is to press stop and end the ruinous price war for meat, ”says the NGG. It demands stricter controls and rules for slaughterhouse accommodation – and that workers are better protected against exploitation.

Cheap meat has its price. (Picture of Karamo on Pixabay / CC0 public domain)

“You are not a human being for them”

Not only the accommodations are problematic, the status as a worker or agency worker brings even more disadvantages with itself: The job is not safe, the employees live in constant fear of dismissal. In addition, they often only receive the minimum wage – for physically and mentally extremely stressful work. Many also deduct money for equipment and accommodation from their wages.

“You work there like a slave on the plantation,” reported a worker from the Republic of Moldova the WDR. “You are not a human being for them. The most important thing for them is that you work and bring them money […] If you can’t work so quickly, that’s it, you’re fired. ”

Utopia thinks: There are always reports of catastrophic conditions in cattle farms and slaughterhouses – mostly it is about cruelty to animals. The many corona infections in slaughterhouses reveal how people are exploited in such facilities. Inhumane and unhealthy conditions are put up with for the employees so that the supermarkets can offer minced meat for a few cents. One more reason to avoid meat, or at least to reduce meat consumption.


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