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Mon May 11, 2020, 10:21 PM

'Modern Slavery' At The Heart Of German Slaughterhouse Outbreak

Source: DW

Just as lockdown measures are lifting, more than 200 employees at a slaughterhouse in western Germany have contracted COVID-19. DW spoke to workers living in dilapidated, crowded conditions.

I'm standing outside a run-down, two-story brick building in the village of Rosendahl, in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. One of the residents, a man of around 50, tells me the home has been placed under quarantine "because of coronavirus."

His grasp of English and German is limited, and he wants to remain anonymous, but he tells me he's from the Romanian city of Sibiu. The man doesn't seem to understand that having his house under quarantine requires him to stay inside. He's wearing a paper mask, but it dangles loosely around his neck. The man works at the Westfleisch slaughterhouse in nearby Coesfeld, along with a number of other Romanians, Bulgarians and Polish people.

Authorities have temporarily closed the slaughterhouse after news broke that an unknown number of workers at the site had become infected with the coronavirus. As of Monday afternoon, at least 249 people had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease -- many of them foreign workers...

Read more: https://www.dw.com/en/coronavirus-modern-slavery-at-the-heart-of-german-slaughterhouse-outbreak/a-53396228



A spokeswoman for the Coesfeld Green party says nobody has taken responsibility for the workers' health and safety conditions. The problem has been "pushed back and forth between the local municipality, the region and the state," with no one willing to act.

She suspects it has to do with the fact that workers are officially employed by a subcontractor, with German public health officials only getting involved once someone has been infected..

A woman who lives across the street from the workers' home tells me that authorities were slow to act and says she feels sorry for the foreigners. "They are poor people, put up in squalid conditions and exploited," she says...

Kossen, a 51-year-old Catholic theologian says "this catastrophe was on the horizon for weeks," adding that many foreign workers live "crammed into moldy dorms and decrepit homes." And, he says, the same applies for the "overcrowded buses that are used to shuttle workers to the slaughterhouse."



- 'End modern slavery' sign held by Patrick Peter Kossen.
_________________________________________



'The Jungle' is a 1906 novel by the American journalist & novelist Upton Sinclair (18781968). He wrote the book to portray the harsh conditions and exploited lives of immigrants in the U.S. in Chicago and similar industrialized cities. His primary purpose was to describe the meat industry and its working conditions.

However, most readers were more concerned with several passages exposing health violations and unsanitary practices in the American meat packing industry during the early 20th century. This greatly contributed to a public outcry which led to reforms including the Meat Inspection Act.

Sinclair famously said of the public reaction, "I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach."
The book depicts working-class poverty, the lack of social supports, harsh and unpleasant living and working conditions, and a hopelessness among many workers.. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jungle

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Reply 'Modern Slavery' At The Heart Of German Slaughterhouse Outbreak (Original post)
appalachiablue May 2020 OP
PoindexterOglethorpe May 2020 #1
keithbvadu2 May 2020 #2
appalachiablue May 2020 #5
iluvtennis May 2020 #3
MustLoveBeagles May 2020 #4
LittleGirl May 2020 #6
appalachiablue May 2020 #7
LittleGirl May 2020 #9
appalachiablue May 2020 #12
LittleGirl May 2020 #13
appalachiablue May 2020 #15
Worried2020 May 2020 #8
Name removed May 2020 #10
Duppers May 2020 #11
Blue_Tires May 2020 #14

Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Mon May 11, 2020, 10:47 PM

1. Imagine that. This country isn't the only one with terrible working

conditions in the slaughterhouses.

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Mon May 11, 2020, 10:55 PM

2. Wisconsin Supreme Court justice: Meatpackers aren't 'regular folks'

Wisconsin Supreme Court justice: Meatpackers aren't 'regular folks'

https://www.democraticunderground.com/10142489043

Conservative Justice.

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Response to keithbvadu2 (Reply #2)

Mon May 11, 2020, 11:05 PM

5. Age 79, Judge Patience awful remark, Gilded Age throwback

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Mon May 11, 2020, 11:00 PM

3. So heartbreaking. nt

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 12:54 AM

6. The eastern europeans in Germany

are treated like the Mexicans in the US. Pay them poorly and treat them like slaves.
Sounds familiar?

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Response to LittleGirl (Reply #6)

Tue May 12, 2020, 01:07 AM

7. Very familiar and awful

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Response to appalachiablue (Reply #7)

Tue May 12, 2020, 05:29 AM

9. When we lived in Germany

The Turks were also treated as second class non-citizens. They showed up and helped rebuild Germany after the war.

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Response to LittleGirl (Reply #9)

Tue May 12, 2020, 07:21 PM

12. I first went to Germany in the 70s with

a Turkish friend (from Izmir) who was also a college student in the US.

In Munich that summer of the 1972 Olympics, we visited her German friends and at the Englischer Garten she and I enjoyed dancing the traditional style with Turkish gastarbeiters on break there. I learned quite a lot from the experience.

Other countries in Europe also used foreign workers from their 'colonies' as temporary laborers to rebuild after WWII- Caribbean people in England, and No. Africans in France. Not a such good deal for the workers, the age old story sorry to say.

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Response to appalachiablue (Reply #12)

Wed May 13, 2020, 01:33 AM

13. It is an old sorry story

The media in the UK says that they are having to hire Brits for their harvest time now because they haven't had enough workers to help in the fields.
I can't remember but I think there were quite a few farmers that were worried that they would not have enough help this spring.
Produce rotting in the fields and not enough help to clear the field.
The travel restrictions are causing farmers to hire airplanes to go to Romania etc states to bring the workers in.

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Response to LittleGirl (Reply #13)

Wed May 13, 2020, 03:10 PM

15. That's incredible, UK flying in Romanian workers

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 01:44 AM

8. We have no idea what people suffer through to get food to our tables


We should turn the $$$ world upside down - pay the workers better, and strip the Billionaires and millionaires of their power.

Hey - was it not the peasants who rounded up together and drove out the "Overlords" a few centuries back?

Methinks it might be time to do it again . . .



W

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 07:03 PM

11. K & R

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Wed May 13, 2020, 03:03 PM

14. Jesus...

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