German police raid meat industry firms over illegal workers
September 23, 2020
Working conditions in the meat industry have made headlines after COVID-19 outbreaks in slaughterhouses. Investigators are turning their attention to subcontracters suspected of smuggling in migrant workers illegally.
Around 800 officers launched raids on more than 40 premises in five German states in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Ten people in total working for the two companies are accused of falsifying EU travel documents for citizens of non-EU countries like Belarus and Ukraine and organizing their travel into Germany, the spokesman added.
Police said they had documented a recent increase in people stopped at Germany's borders traveling on false documents.
The raids are primarily being carried out in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt.
Further searches are being conducted in Lower Saxony in Berlin, Saxony and North Rhine Westphalia.
In July, the German government approved a bill that would ban the use of subcontractors in Germany's meat industry and require companies to hire workers directly. It is expected to come into force in January 2021.
The bill stipulates that when any meat-processing company has 50 or more workers, only those employed directly may slaughter and process animals.