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Ahead of the next round of collective bargaining negotiations on 29 March 2021, EFFAT is sending solidarity and much strength to all of its NGG affiliates in the meat sector fighting for better wages and working conditions.

Last year’s COVID-19 outbreaks in several European meat factories have finally drawn public attention on the deplorable conditions affecting workers in the sector. Thanks to NGG’s tireless struggle the Arbeitsschutzkontrollgesetz was eventually adopted, and it is already delivering some improvements.

Nonetheless, employers in the German meat industry continue to put a strain on the employees by meagerly offering a minimum wage of 10 euros/hour from July 1st : It’s simply despicable! Profits in the sector are significant and it is long overdue for workers to get their fair share!

Who can really live on 10€ an hour?

The NGG went into talks with the demand for a three-tier minimum wage agreement for the 160.000 employees in the industry. The minimum wage should therefore start at 12.50 euros. After a short training period, it should increase to 14 euros/hour, reaching 17 euros/hour for skilled workers.

After so many years of abuses and exploitation, the sector can eventually see the light only through a viable collective bargaining agreement that secures decent pay to all meat workers.

NGG’s fight for better wages and working conditions is not only a German fight, but also EFFAT’s: poverty wages in one Member State put pressure on wages and working conditions in other European countries. In the Dutch thriving poultry sector for example, we are witnessing the same reluctancy of the employers to grant a pay rise after months of astounding workers’ dedication throughout the pandemic.

The issues affecting the meat sector are far from being merely national.  While sending solidarity to its German affiliates, EFFAT reiterates the urgency to fix the meat sector at the European level through a long-term vision that underpins social partners’ full involvement on national and European level. EFFAT also urges for legally binding EU initiatives to address long-standing issues such as abusive subcontracting practices and poor housing for mobile and migrant workers.

EFFAT is hopeful that the next NGG collective bargaining negotiations round will conclude with a positive agreement on pay and working conditions and that such a step will pave the way towards a whole new chapter for the meat industry across Europe.

Links:
Hungry for fairness: raising standards in the  meat sector| EFFAT 10 Demands EN
NGG press release [German]
NGG Leaflets in different languages
Marion, NGG worker, video [German with ENG Subtitles]

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