Report on Supply Chain Compliance 3, no. 14 (July 23, 2020)
A report by Deutsche Welle asserts that seasonal workers in Germany are being exploited by major German companies and subcontractors that pay them low wages, neglect safety conditions, require fees for room and board that slash pay, and refuse to acknowledge or address problems even after multiple complaints.
The situation grew critical after a quarantine at a German slaughterhouse forced seasonal workers to live in cramped conditions with little medical assistance, leading to fears of an outbreak. Deutsche Welle reported that forced labor conditions are not uncommon in the meat and agriculture industries in Germany, especially when workers are shipped in from countries such as Romania.
The German government has claimed it will address the issue after the summer break, which lasts until September, with stronger regulatory oversight. Germany recently took over the presidency of the Council for Europe, and any action regarding forced labor in the food and agricultural industries could have Europe-wide ramifications.