160 workers will leave today for Germany, although their final destination is unknown.
Most of the workers say that they have been informed that they are being sent to gather strawberries, but they do not know where exactly. Some do know where they are headed, only because they know their employers and have worked for them before.
The workers, however, are not afraid of the coronavirus pandemic and are leaving for Germany because no one would hire them in Romania.
Meanwhile, the leader of the deputies of the Social Democratic Party in Romania, Alfred Simonis, announced that Minister of Internal Affairs Marcel Vela has been called to parliament to explain some of the measures taken in the state of emergency. He will have to explain why he allowed Romanian seasonal workers to leave to work in red zones abroad, such as Germany.
A Romanian seasonal worker died in Germany of COVID-19 earlier this month. The news was confirmed by the Ministry of External Affairs a few days after it appeared in the German press.
Starting mid-April, hundreds of Romanian seasonal workers began flying to Germany, via charter flights, to work in agriculture. Many of them work at asparagus farms in Germany. The first such flights triggered a scandal in Romania, as social distancing measures were not observed when some 2,000 people gathered at the Cluj-Napoca international airport to depart.
Additionally, some 200 Romanian workers at a slaughterhouse in Germany have been infected with COVID-19, Romania’s Foreign Ministry announced in a press release, according to Mediafax. The slaughterhouse, located in Birkenfeld, is one of the biggest meat processors in Germany and employs 700 people, 500 of whom are Romanian. In total, about 300 of the company’s workers have tested positive for COVID-19, over 200 of whom are Romanian, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, based on data received from the German authorities. According to the same source, all of the infected workers have been placed under quarantine, and most have shown mild to no symptoms. Only five of them have had to be hospitalized.
The Romanians working at the slaughterhouse in Birkenfeld are not seasonal workers. They are employees of a subcontractor of the German slaughterhouse, according to Mediafax.
Featured photo: independenteagle.com