In March 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic gained momentum around the world, it became apparent that extra attention was needed to protect workers in the meat sector.
By September 24, in the United States alone, 42,988 meatpacking workers have tested positive for COVID-19 since March and at least 206 of these workers have died, according to the Food and Environment Reporting Network.
Following detailed discussions and analysis, the IUF has produced this specialized guide for affiliate with members in meat and poultry processing.
It explains why COVID-19 spread so rapidly in meat processing plants and outlines safety at work protocols. It looks beyond the workplace to the risks involved in transport and crowded accommodation. It notes that the spread of the disease was facilitated by the exploitation arising from subcontracting and other forms of precarious work.
Protection of income, rigorous testing and tracing, and looking at occupational safety and health beyond the pandemic are important tasks for building workplaces based on lasting solidarity.