THE NETHERLANDS; Groenlo. At the Vion Food Group pig slaughterhouse in Groenlo, the Netherlands, further infections of employees with the coronavirus have become known.
Last Friday, the Dutch-German company reported 45 positive corona tests among the 600 employees. Over the weekend, this number has risen to 147, according to the municipal administration in Oost Gelre, and some test results are still pending. More than half of the affected employees live in Germany because of the slaughterhouse's proximity to the border.
The entire workforce at the Vion plant was sent to domestic quarantine last week and the slaughterhouse was temporarily closed. According to the company, meat production was moved to other locations. Vion's CEO Ronald Lotgerink said that the health of the employees and residents of the region was a top priority. "We are naturally surprised, as are our employees," the Vion manager reported.
According to Lotgerink, all the necessary measures have been taken to prevent corona spread and ensure the health of the employees. Nevertheless, it appears that many employees are infected. This is a new situation for Vion and the whole sector needs to learn quickly so that it can adapt its behaviour if necessary and share knowledge.
According to press reports, the Dutch trade union KNV has blamed the housing situation of many employees for the major corona outbreak. Above all, migrant workers recruited through employment agencies were housed in cramped collective accommodation, which was also located in Germany. The municipality of Ost Gelre called on Vion and the temporary employment agencies to provide adequate accommodation in which the employees could live safely in quarantine.
The Danish meat producer Danish Crown, on the other hand, was able to announce last Friday that all corona tests on its German site in Essen near Oldenburg were negative for the 1,440 employees. The company attributed this to the functioning hygiene concept, which includes contactless fever measurement, strict distance regulations, stricter apartment controls and a general requirement to wear masks on the entire premises.