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Germany Cracks Down On Meat Industry After Virus Outbreaks

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FILE - In this Tuesday, May 12, 2020 file photo a man walks past the Westfleisch slaughterhouse in Coesfeld, Germany. The German government agreed Wednesday to ban the use of subcontractors and increase fines for breaches of labor law in the meat industry starting next year following a series of coronavirus outbreaks linked to abattoirs in recent weeks. (AP Photo/Michael Probst, file)

(AP) — The German government has agreed ban the use of subcontractors in the meat industry following a series of coronavirus outbreaks linked to abattoirs in recent weeks. Clusters of COVID-19 cases among slaughterhouse workers highlighted grim conditions in the industry, which relies heavily on migrant workers from Eastern Europe. The Cabinet plans to submit a bill that will require companies to directly employ workers involved in slaughtering and meat processing from Jan. 1, 2021, though there will be exceptions for small artisanal businesses. Ministers also agreed to double the maximum fine of 15,000 euros ($16,425) if companies are found in breach of labor rules.

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