Trade union wants all slaughterhouse workers tested for coronavirus

The around 33 thousand people who work in the Netherlands' meat processing industry must all be tested for the coronavirus, according to trade union FNV. A recent coronavirus outbreak at a slaughterhouse in Helmond and the previous one in Groenlo show that slaughterhouses are a hotspot for the disease, the union said. 

"Each sample testing yields cases," FNV director John Klijn said to NOS. "So there is no reason to believe it is better at other companies in the industry." He pointed out that there had been similar outbreaks in slaughterhouses in the United States, Germany and France. "In Groenlo, people in the office were also infected, so we can learn lessons from that."

Minister Carola Schouten of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality told the broadcaster that she and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge already submitted a request to health service GGD for all slaughterhouse workers to be tested. "It is up to the GGDs to determine whether they will do it. Of course they also have other groups that they want to test. But the best safeguard against contamination is to observe the rules of the RIVM," Schouten said before the start of the Council of Ministers

All 1,700 employees of Van Rooi Meat in Helmond at least will be tested for the virus, John Jorritsma of local security region Veiligheidsregio Brabant-Zuidoost said to NOS. The slaughterhouse was ordered closed after a sampling testing of 130 employees found 21 with the coronavirus. 

All employees who test positive, and their housemates, will be quarantined for two weeks. They will be given accommodation in a local hotel. "The people who have to quarantine are very happy that they will at least get a decent place to stay," Jorritsma said to the broadcaster. Most of the Van Rooi Meat employees are migrant workers and some of them lived in "degrading conditions" at campsites across the border, he said. "Now they no longer have to spoon in a tent"