‘COVID-19 tests for all slaughterhouse workers’

This 1 May 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

1st glimpse inside a meatpacking plant as work continues despite coronavirus | WNT

Across the U.S., there are more than 6,500 meatpacking workers infected with COVID-19 and the virus has killed at least 20.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

The more than 30,000 people who work in the meat processing industry must be tested for the coronavirus. That says trade union federation FNV following the coronavirus outbreak at a meat processing corporation in Helmond.

In a sample, 21 of the 130 employees tested at Van Rooi Meat were found to be infected with the virus. …

“All samples have cases”, said FNV executive member John Klijn. “So there is no reason to believe it is better with other companies in the industry.” …

With similar outbreaks in slaughterhouses in the US, Germany and France in mind, Klijn believes it is wise to have everyone tested. “At the Groenlo meatpacking plant, people in the office were also infected, so we can learn lessons from that.” …

About 33,000 people work in the Dutch slaughterhouse industry. Of these, around 12,000 people are migrant workers. There are more than 350 slaughterhouses and according to the trade association, they generate more than 10 billion euros turnover per year. Most of the meat is exported.

The FNV executive member also argues that staff should receive the same protective equipment as people who work in hospitals. In some factories, employees already work with facemasks, but according to Klijn, that is often an all-day mask.

‘No more jampacked together’

The 1700 employees of the now-closed Van Rooi Meat in Helmond will all be tested for the virus. Most of the workers there come from abroad, the chairman of the Brabant-Southeast Safety Region John Jorritsma said in the NOS Radio 1 News.

“The people who are now in quarantine are very happy that they now get at least a decent place to stay,” says Jorritsma. According to him, some workers lived in “degrading conditions” at campsites across the border. “Now they no longer have to lie huddled together in a tent.”

According to FNV executive member Klijn, the sample at Van Rooi Meat once again shows that risk is stacked in this sector. “You work and live together in an atmosphere that keeps the virus alive for longer.”

5 thoughts on “‘COVID-19 tests for all slaughterhouse workers’

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