Germany: Toennies' conduct under fire after slaughterhouse outbreak

Guetersloh County Commissioner Sven-Georg Adenauer confirmed that there were 1,029 cases of coronavirus in the Toennies slaughterhouse in Rheda-Wiedenbrueck, in north-western Germany's Guetersloh district, but that there were no «significant record» of cases in the general population. Adenauer was speaking at a press conference in Guetersloh on Saturday. «We have no significant record of coronavirus infections in the general population. That means if we hadn't an outbreak at one of the factories run by the company Toennies, we would have a normal situation in Guetersloh district as in the whole of Germany,» said Adenauer. Adenauer also revealed that the Toennies leadership did not hand in the personal information of its employees by midnight on Friday, which prompted representatives of the district administration and the occupational health and safety authorities to present themselves in the company in person, where they had access to all the personal data. Brigadier General Torsten Gersdorf, Commander of the State Command of North Rhine-Westphalia, said, «65 soldiers in total here in the district of Guetersloh, supporting, among other things, the swab test stations on the factory premises of the company Toennies, in cooperation with the German Red Cross. Sanitation personnel of the federal association deployed, soldiers of the Army deployed there, and supporting, on the one hand, the sanitation personnel directly at the swab station and also as a helping hand with documentation.» Meanwhile, Thomas Kuhlbusch, Head of the crisis management team and head of the Health, Order and Law Department of Guetersloh, said, «In this respect, I want to emphasise clearly that the firm Toennies has an extraordinary significance for this occurrence, an extraordinary responsibility through the working conditions, and I assume that the company Toennies will live up to its responsibility if problems should occur here and will [provide] support.» «I want to say firstly that the trust we have in the company Toennies is zero. That I have to say clearly,» he added. The meatpacking plant owned by Toennies as well as local schools and kindergartens have been shut down after an outbreak of coronavirus. All 6,500 workers and managers, as well as their families, are under quarantine.

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