A perfect storm : COVID-19 and the reorganisation of the German meat industry
Transfer : European review of labour and research, 2022, Vol. 28, No. 1, pp. 101-118
BAN, Cornel, BOHLE, Dorothee, NACZYK, Marek, A perfect storm : COVID-19 and the reorganisation of the German meat industry, Transfer : European review of labour and research, 2022, Vol. 28, No. 1, pp. 101-118 - https://hdl.handle.net/1814/74846
Retrieved from Cadmus, EUI Research Repository
An advocacy coalition of trade unions, churches and NGOs had been trying for a long time to mobilise domestic media and politicians in order to re-regulate the German meat industry. The meat industry’s low-cost business model, using employee posting and subcontracting on a massive scale, has led to extreme forms of unsafe working and poor living conditions for large numbers of Central and Eastern European workers. But it is only in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that the German government decided to ban subcontracting, posting and temporary work in this industry. Why did COVID-19 make a difference? In an industry in which the livelihoods of local communities in Germany’s pig belt and in deprived rural parts of Romania have become structurally dependent on subcontracting, institutional change would not have happened without the pre-existing mobilisation of the above-mentioned advocacy coalition. But COVID-19 created a ‘perfect storm’ that empowered this coalition by helping reframe the meat industry issue away from a ‘narrow’ employment regulation problem into a ‘broader’ public health threat. Indeed, after becoming a virus hotspot, the meat industry was no longer just a threat to the livelihoods of its own workers, but to those of the wider local community.
First published online: 13 May 2022
Cadmus permanent link: https://hdl.handle.net/1814/74846
Full-text via DOI: 10.1177/10242589221081943
ISSN: 1024-2589; 1996-7284
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