The cabinet is finally breaking its line of trusting industry promises. Economic liberals are upset.

Slaughter on the assembly line: Tönnies employees, recently with corona protection Photo: Tönnies / dpa

The Food, Beverage and Catering Union (NGG) called Wednesday “historic”. But done. The cabinet has indeed approved the draft for a ban on contracts for work in the meat industry. But that’s still just a government decision. Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil’s draft law still has to be passed through parliament.

And according to what can be heard from the ranks of the Union, it is willing to make minced meat from the draft of the SPD minister. Because he wants temporary work on the collar in general, and above all the Union’s economic wing wants to prevent this in the beginning. It is therefore quite possible that the prohibition on contracts for work will be similar to that of the basic pension. It was a perennial favorite between the coalition partners.

Nevertheless, the cabinet decision breaks with the hitherto iron line of relying on declarations of commitment in dealing with the food industry. The Tönnies case in particular has shown how much trust you can put in the industry to voluntarily do something for the better, regardless of whether it concerns the environment, animal welfare or working conditions. Namely none. If there is trust in it, then not only laws are important, but also control.

German slaughterhouses have developed into scandalous places, not just as corona hotspots, they were previously for listeria and salmonella. Politicians must therefore ensure that their regulations are checked effectively. In terms of the environment, animal welfare and working conditions. A look at Heil’s design reveals what is flourishing in the meat industry. It only provides for controls from 2026 and then only in 5 percent of the plants annually, i.e. once every 20 years per slaughterhouse.

This is too little. Unless trade and food control is also improved, what it decides will give politicians the same problems as industry with its beautiful declarations of intent. You don’t believe her anymore.

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