As Germany’s meat industry faces scrutiny in light of the recent COVID-19 outbreak amid poor workplace conditions, seasonal workers are daring to speak out about their experiences.
“We work at Tönnies and we’ve been quarantined. Nobody is looking after us!”
DW has been inundated with calls from Romanian workers who feel they have been left in the lurch in the district of Gütersloh, in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, following a coronavirus outbreak at a Tönnies slaughterhouse.
Most workers interviewed, many of whom were very upset, have been either employed by the huge meat producer Tönnies or its subsidiaries. They have described extremely exhaustive work and aggressive language. The workers accused managers of not putting enough protective measures in place in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some have also said that the shared accommodation, in which they were forced to live, was cramped and inhumane. And it was in these conditions that they suddenly found themselves quarantined.