We’re all familiar with the saying ”there is no such thing as a free lunch.” In life, everything comes at a cost, and this also holds true for the cheap meat that consumers in rich, industrialized nations love to eat. After hundreds of Eastern European laborers employed at the Westfleisch slaughterhouse in North Rhine-Westphalia tested positive for the coronavirus, it clear is that the workers are the ones paying the price — sometimes with their lives — for this cheap meat. Sure, Westfleisch, Germany’s third largest meat processing company, has stated it carries responsibility for its workers. But look closer, and you’ll see the company only has a small number of actual employees. Most workers in the industry are hired by subcontractors, who mainly employ Romanians, Bulgarian and Poles. Read more: ’Modern slavery’ at the heart of German slaughterhouse outbreak Passing the buck The meat industry relies on this loophole to cut costs. And on paper, companies like Westfleisch carry no responsibility for the inhumane living conditions that the hundreds of foreigner workers staffing their slaughterhouses in Germany have to endure. DW’s Miodrag Soric The subcontractors, in turn, argue its the government that should be setting and enforcing basic labor and health standards. But in Germany, this is the prerogative of the respective municipalities… Read full this story
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