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German Minister: It is a disgrace that in this rich society people from Bulgaria fall victim to exploitation

“It is a disgrace that in this rich society people from Bulgaria and Romania are falling victim to exploitation,” German Labour Minister Hubertus Heil said, as quoted by Deutsche Welle. This happened after a Bulgarian woman in Germany told WDR about insults, screaming and discrimination.
Hubertus Heil

After the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in the Tonis slaughterhouses, the Social Minister of the Norveren-Rhine Westphalia province Karl-Josef Laumann insisted on more opportunities for control of housing and dormitories housing Eastern European meat processing workers enterprises.

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"Such control became possible for the first time only in the course of the pandemic,” Laumann told the Bundestag and added that at 650 checks have been identified over 1800 irregularities.

"We will put an end to these practices"

In response, German Labour Minister Hubertus Heil confirmed that the government's goal is to introduce a ban on subcontracting contracts in the meat processing industry from the beginning of next year.

"It is a disgrace that in this rich society people from Bulgaria and Romania fall victim to exploitation. We will put an end to these practices”, Hubertus Heil assured.

Indeed: many of the Eastern Europeans who have arrived for work in Germany are experiencing a real shock.

Like Emilia from Bulgaria, who told WDR about the experience in Germany. The woman arrives ten years ago and immediately starts work. One of its employers: the meat processing plant “Tonis”, whose name has not come down from newspaper headlines recently - because of poor working conditions and the exploitation of Eastern European workers.

"They insult you, they shout at you, they discriminate against you, they treat you in a terrible way,” Emilia tells WDR.

There is nothing accidental in that so many people from Eastern Europe arrive to work in Germany. In the desire to escape the misery in their homeland, many are deceived into believing the promises of subcontractors.

"This is a huge business,” says Volker Bruggenürgen of the Caritas aid organisation in Gütersloo County, where the headquarters of the Tonis slaughterhouses are located.

"I wanted to integrate"

Once in Germany, Eastern European workers actually make more money than they did in their homeland, but they often fall victim to relentless exploitation by subcontractors.

"I wanted to integrate,” says Emilia. The woman has learned German and claims to be making a really great effort. However, it does not leave her feeling that after ten years of living in Germany she is still not part of this society.