Germany: Dismissals and Uncertainty Following a Fire in a Poultry Plant
Just days after a major fire in the Wiesenhof poultry plant in Lohne in the German state of Lower Saxony destroyed a production facility and a delivery hall on 28 March, labour agencies providing contract workers to Wiesenhof began issuing dismissal letters.
The German Food Workers Union, NGG, and the works council have stressed that protecting jobs must be the highest priority, underlining that the economic loss will surely be compensated by the insurance companies. The union has pointed out that there are other workable solutions preferable to dismissals.
The president and the finance minister of the State of Lower Saxony met with the parent company, PHW, on 6 April to discuss the future of the site, employment and the supplier enterprises in the region. The company has confirmed its intention to rebuild, but will not guarantee that there will be continued employment for all workers.
A meeting between the company and the NGG and the works council on 14 April ended without result as the company refused to reveal information about insurance coverage.
The Lohne facility employs 1,200 workers, 750 of which are permanent employees. The remaining 450 are divided equally between locally-based contract workers and migrant contract workers.