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Germany: New meat industry regulations take aim at use of subcontractors & seek to improve migrant workers' rights

Author: Rebecca Staudenmaier, Deutsche Welle, Published on: 22 May 2020

"Germany agrees stricter meat industry regulations following coronavirus outbreaks", 20 May 2020

[The] German [...] government agreed on a framework of new regulations for the meat industry on Wednesday.

Labor Minister Hubertus Heil spearheaded the push for more regulation in the country's powerful meat sector after new COVID-19 hotspots erupted at several slaughterhouses across the country, with hundreds of migrant workers from Eastern Europe infected...

The new regulations will be put into a draft law which will have to be approved by parliament.

The new rules particularly take aim at the use of subcontractors in the branch and seeks to make German meat packing plants and large slaughterhouses responsible for their largely migrant workers...

Employers that provide living accommodations for their workers will also be responsible for providing authorities with information about where their migrant workers are living...

Until now [...] German slaughterhouse operators would sign special contracts with subcontractors...

These types of contracts mean the German companies are not legally responsible for the personnel, leaving workers vulnerable...

Although criticism of the health conditions for workers at meat plants isn't new, the coronavirus pandemic has served as a catalyst for change...

Meat industry representatives pushed back against the new regulations, warning that the move could have serious economic consequences...

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