Following the agreement signed in January 2014, a minimum wage in the German meat industry has finally come into force. This should be valid for all workers of the German territory slaughterhouses, whether directly employed by the company or employed through subcontractors. Many doubt its actual application and warn against existing practices in order to push or circumvent its application. The full article is available HERE in German on the website of our partner ALSO.
In 2012, about 58 million pigs, 3.6 million cattle and 1 million sheep were slaughtered in Germany. The German meat industry is so effective that the country has become the slaughter of Europe, but also on the way to becoming the world’s largest meat exporter. With the start of the barbecue season, Lidl offers 20% per kilo of pork loin or € 3.99 per kilo. This award is achieved through the exploitation of workers, mostly East European countries. This with the help of the directive on the posting of workers to principles rather vague, leaving room for all kinds of abuse from shady supplier. Matthias Brümmer, head of the local branch of Oldenburg union for food and catering (NGG) explains how the business of cheap meat.
Recently I was able to speak with a former butcher and foreman in a pig slaughterhouse, located south of Oldenburg. He worked for several years and was willing to share with me his experience with employees of subcontractors. Summary: He … Continue reading →
Germany, the leading European food industry is increasingly criticized for the social and environmental price for its economic success. Only two weeks after my arrival in Lower Saxony, I have already seen the devastating effects of its operation. For years, thousands of posted workers suffer abuses of unscrupulous subcontractors. Through these “service contracts” large groups such as Tönnies, Danish Crown, Heidemark, Vion “rent” contract workers. These service contracts can circumvent the German labor law and to drastically cut wages. Beyond the damage suffered by the employees, this creates a problem of unfair competition. Most of these contract workers are from Eastern Europe (Romania, Poland, Bulgaria) and are subject to daily pressures. They are willing to accept conditions of living and working close to slavery, for fear of losing their jobs and having to return home without money.
The testimonies of some former slaughterhouse workers report numerous violations of the rights of unsustainable rates, threats … Given the particular problem in the Lower Saxony region a consultancy mobile cell and access to rights was mounted in the program Faire Mobilität. More and more exploited workers use them. One of the counselors testify situations observed and the mafia look of subcontracting companies. For her the imposition of a minimum wage does present a partial solution if the checks were conducted on the workplace but also in life. According to her the exploitation of migrant workers in Lower Saxony receives little interest from public opinion, more concerned about the breeding conditions and slaughter of animals.
In the Oldenburg region, a stronghold of German meat producers, immigrants from Latin America are working in deplorable conditions. A wage dumping that allows Germany to remain competitive.
The workers, who use a lawyer, say they have not been paid for several months and they are asked to sign a paper that would make them give up their rights. Employed by a subcontractor they are paid 3 euros per hour, are working an average of 14 hours per days (sometimes more) and see the price of their homes in a corporate house, taken from their wages. The region is specialized in pig and poultry sectors that employ 25,000 underpaid migrant workers. The promise of the establishment of a minimum wage will not solve the problem if serious and regular checks are not performed.