German Food Workers fighting to end meat industry abuses
The German Food and Allied Workers Union NGG has long demanded a legal minimum wage of EUR 8.50 in its campaign to end wage dumping. Meat packing companies, in particular, exploit the absence of a legal minimum wage by hiring workers from eastern Europe through agencies which pay poverty wages.
In response to the NGG’s campaign and growing media exposure of abusive practices the governments of 4 cities in the State of Lower Saxony recently signed an agreement with meat-packing companies and their labour contractors establishing a minimum wage of EUR 8.50 – with a catch. The deal allows the agencies to deduct from wages travel costs, rent and transport!
The NGG describes the city governments’ actions as a step in the right direction, but insists that transport, tools, and clothing must be paid for by employers, and will continue the struggle against abusive practices.