600 workers at Groenlo meat processing plant in quarantine at home

Photo: Depositphotos.com

All 600 workers at the Vion meat processing plant in Groenlo have been ordered to stay home in quarantine for two weeks because of an outbreak of coronavirus.

The Groenlo plant, which processes organic pork, was closed on Wednesday after 45 people tested positive for the virus. Some 250 workers still have to be tested.

Vion is the Netherlands’ biggest meat company. Earlier this month another of the company’s plants, in Scherpenzeel, was hit by a coronavirus outbreak when 28 workers from eastern Europe tested positive and were quarantined on a river cruise boat.

Vion chief executive Ronald Lotgerink said in a press statement that the company had done all it could to prevent the spread of coronavirus. ‘We have to learn from this as a sector and as a company, and change our behaviour where necessary,’ he said.

‘Meat processing is labour intensive and employs a large number of people,’ FNV spokesman John Klijn told current affairs show Nieuwsuur earlier.

‘And the sector is extra vulnerable because 80% of the workforce are migrant workers who live together and travel to work in small buses. If you then spend the day in a place where social distancing is not possible, then you are asking for problems.’

According to broadcaster NOS many of the Groenlo plant’s workers live in Germany, which is making it difficult to ensure they are both tested and remain in quarantine, as well carrying out the necessary contact tracing.

Nieuwsuur said around half of Vion’s 13,000 workforce comes from abroad.

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