Factsheet for case DE-2020-12/1144 – measures in Germany
|Country||Germany , applies nationwide|
|Time period||Open ended, started on 15 March 2020|
|Type||Other initiatives or policies|
Protection of workers, adaptation of workplace
– Occupational health and safety
|Author||Birgit Kraemer (Hans Boeckler Foundation) and Eurofound|
|Case created||15 September 2020 (updated 12 May 2021)|
During the pandemic, certain industries were at risk of collapse because the borders were closed for foreign workers. It showed that agriculture and forestry, meat processing, private care of the elderly and construction depend on seasonal and posted workers from abroad. Moreover, also the wharf industry and other manufacturing industries depend on posted workers.
Following on public outcries that the supply of meat and vegetables might be affected, government permitted foreign workers to enter the country for work.
Faire Mobilität , a network of consultants for Eastern European workers run by the Confederation of German Trade Unions (DGB) and predominately funded by the Federal Employment Agency, set up a phone hotline for foreign workers in need of support.
Established in 2011, Faire Mobilität today holds nine advisory centers located all over Germany. Social and labour rights experts speaking different languages give comprehensible information and direct support in case of need. Data by the advisory centers indicate that workers contact them because of wage issues or wage theft, lack of information, violations of social rights or health and safety. The consultants provide individual support; big cases involving a number of workers are made public via email newsletters and media contacts.
The COVID-19 pandemic poses a particular challenge because mobile workers from abroad are often contained in groups at their employers' premises or they work together with little space for social distancing.
Faire Mobilität runs a standard phone hotline; in face of COVID-19, the hotline was extended to provide information on the workers' rights and obligations with regard to the pandemia but also to give support in case of individual anxieties.
Data on the use of the COVID-19 hotline is not yet available.
Migrants in employment
|Does not apply to businesses||Does not apply to citizens|
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
|Trade unions||Employers' organisations|
|Role||Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative||No involvement|
|Form||Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal||Not applicable|
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
Faire Mobilität is a structure set up by the DGB and has the DGB on its steering board. Employers organisations are not involved.
In case any violations of labour rights become known, the sectoral affiliates of DGB will get involved as well. . In case COVID 19 infections become known because of the hotline, Faire Mobilität and the sectoral trade union at local level will contact the labour inspectorate for investigating the occupational safety and health standards and the conditions of housing.
The trade unions are supportive, the employer organisations are not involved.
Eurofound (2020), COVID-19 info-hotline for East European workers, case DE-2020-12/1144 (measures in Germany), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, http://eurofound.link/covid19eupolicywatch
Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process. All information is preliminary and subject to change.