At Vion's slaughterhouse in Landshut, Germany, workers launched strikes on the 25th March. The entire night shift - 50 people - joined in the strike. The meat industry refuses to go along with the workers' demands for, among other things, a minimum wage of 12,50 euros per hour. This was a first warning strike, led by the unions NGG and Faire Mobilität. At Vion in Bavaria, workers had previously gone on strike themselves because of unpaid wages.
Update: on 14th April there was another strike in Germany's biggest cow slaughterhouse in Waldkraiburg. Workers demand higher minimum wages and the labor union complained about the horrible working conditions.
The German government required the meat sector to employ all staff by 2021. This was a direct result of the exploitation by the meat industry that became visible during several corona outbreaks last year.
In the Netherlands, the government did not take action to protect workers. The Roemer Commission published a report and made all kinds of recommendations; which have so far hardly been followed up.
Workers at Vion have good reasons to strike. They are in constant danger, if not from injuries from the work itself, then from corona contamination. The work itself, the killing of animals, is horrific and should end anyway.
This week it became known that in February and March there was another outbreak of corona at Vion's slaughterhouse in Boxtel. Nearly one hundred people got infected in three weeks time, making the slaughterhouse a COVID hotspot. Again. And yet again Vion Boxtel will not close down.
Slaughterhouse employees do not often revolt against their working conditions. Especially since they are on temporary contracts with various employment agencies, often moved to other workplaces, come from various countries and wiht no common language...
Having an employment contract is an important step in making it easier for people to organise themselves and demand better conditions. We have therefore previously called on Vion's management to employ workers .
Vion itself on employing workers:
"“Vion looks forward to welcoming the new employees. We have developed an extensive welcome package and are assisting our new employees in their integration journeys through language courses and accommodation hunting. We strive for the complete integration of the people at work and at home.”
What a hypocrisy: Vion only hires the workers in Germany because they were forced by the government. In the Netherlands, Vion does nothing and sticks to the story that flexible workers are essential.
We are in solidarity with the strikers against Vion, we hope that their colleagues in Boxtel and other branches will also take action.
Pic: Faire Mobilität