GERMANY, Frankfurt. The corona outbreak at Tönnies puts the German meat industry under pressure. On Tuesday, several companies announced fundamental changes. Westfleisch in Münster is prescribing an "elementary turnaround" and wants to set standards in the industry with a ten-point program.
"We want to take even more care of our employees, create more animal welfare, greater security for farmers and better integration of local interests on site", Carsten Schruck, CFO of Westfleisch SCE, named as key points.
Specifically, the company has announced that it will hire all employees itself by the end of the year. "And this applies regardless of what the legislator decides in the coming months in this respect," explained Johannes Steinhoff, the member of the Management Board responsible for the Processing Division. The integration process is to be completed in coordination with the long-standing contract manufacturing companies.
In a statement from Tönnies, the group presents its new sustainability strategy, which it intends to implement from 1 January if possible. One component of this strategy is the abolition of work contracts in all core areas of meat production. The corresponding employees would be directly employed by the group. The plan also provides for the rapid creation of sufficient and appropriate living space for the employees.
On Tuesday afternoon, the poultry meat company PHW Group also announced in a statement that the group intends "to take over its employees, who are employed on work contracts, into permanent employment in the areas relevant to poultry meat production", according to a statement. According to the company, a total of around 20% of the employees within the entire PHW Group are employed through a contract for work and labour.
On January 1, 2021, the Willms Group will also waive contracts for work in its core business and hire employees on a permanent basis within the group of companies. With this groundbreaking step, the company wants to meet its social responsibility and at the same time ensure the production and manufacture of meat and meat products in Germany in the future.
In the coming months, the company will develop a concept to integrate the employees into the group of companies. Among other things, the concept will focus on time recording and the employees' living situation.
Further points of Westfleisch's programme for the future include the nationwide introduction of digital time recording, ensuring adequate housing and strengthening regional agriculture.
However, Steinhoff points out that Westfleisch has already taken steps in this direction. In recent years, for example, more than 2,000 external contract workers have been reintegrated into the company and many animal welfare projects were only started at Westfleisch's instigation. "In recent weeks, however, we have had to learn that it is not enough to 'do more' or be 'better than many others'. The bar is - rightly - higher," says Steinhoff.