WHY does food production have a limit

Food industry is working to the limit: 1,700 employees in the Mettmann district
Union: "Do not overturn working time regulations due to Corona"

They ensure replenishment in the supermarket: the around 1,700 people who work in the food industry in the Mettmann district are making a decisive contribution in the coronavirus pandemic to ensuring that food and drink are not scarce. The food-pleasure-restaurants union (NGG) has pointed this out.

“Overtime and extra shifts have been the order of the day in the food industry for weeks. People are working to the limit so that Aldi, Lidl, Rewe, Edeka & Co. don't run out of goods, ”says Zayde Torun from the NGG region Düsseldorf-Wuppertal. Politicians have recognized this and declared the food industry to be "systemically relevant". However, there are a lot of questions arising from workers right now, according to the union.

Empty shelves by hamster buyers

“It is clear that the supply of food to industry, but also to the bakery and butcher trade, does not fail. If pasta shelves are empty or frozen pizzas are sold out, it is mainly due to excessive hamster purchases and problems in logistics, ”explains Torun. The NGG managing director also criticizes the requirements of supermarket chains in particular. On the one hand, the corporations demanded that manufacturers produce even faster and more during the crisis. At the same time, they want to push prices. “Ultimately, this is at the expense of the employees, who are already working at full capacity,” says Torun.

No food shortages

Since there are currently no supply bottlenecks in the food industry, as has also been confirmed by politicians, the NGG warns of planned drastic interventions in the Working Hours Act. "Corona must not be used to overturn the maximum limits on working hours. In collective bargaining agreements and works agreements, we in the food industry have long had the flexibility to cope with high phases. Otherwise the supermarket shelves would be empty long ago, ”emphasizes the union.

Legal standards are important. Otherwise the health of the employees will end up suffering: "Anyone who has worked a 12-hour shift in the bakery industry increases the risk of accidents," says Torun. The currently valid Working Hours Act sets a clear limit: no more than ten hours a day and no more than 60 hours a week.

Proper occupational safety is also to be taken “extremely seriously” in view of the ongoing high activity in the food industry and in the food trade. “The companies have to ensure that there is enough protective clothing and that the distance rules - for example on production lines - are observed. Protection against infections is a top priority, ”said Torun.

The NGG advises employees who observe grievances or suffer from overload to contact the union or the works council. The NGG has put comprehensive employee information on the coronavirus pandemic online - from the necessary precautions at the workplace by employers to childcare and important trainee questions to fever checks at the factory gate: www.ngg.net/corona

With a digital demonstration under the motto #FacesDerKrisis, the NGG also gives affected employees the opportunity to draw attention to their situation. Further information: www.facebook.com/GewerkschaftNGG

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