Corona outbreak at Tönnies: NRW has to pay compensation

Status: 01/27/2022 1:33 p.m

After the corona-related closure of operations at Tönnies in 2020, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia must now pay compensation. That was decided by the administrative court in Minden.

Two subcontractors had sued because they wanted to be reimbursed for the loss of earnings for two employees. The court agreed. It was the first of several thousand proceedings at the administrative courts in Minden and Münster with a value in dispute of several million euros. However, both sides had previously indicated that the dispute could go as far as the Federal Administrative Court.

On Wednesday, the lawyer for some companies, Michael Wendler, said: “The parties involved agree that this must be decided by the highest court.”

We reported on this topic on January 26, 2022 on WDR television: local time OWL, 7:30 p.m.

In the spring of 2020, more than 1,000 Tönnies employees were infected with the corona virus. Thousands of employees had to be quarantined at the time, including management. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia shut down many areas of the Rheda-Wiedenbrücker meat group.

country had refused compensation

The State Ministry of Health had already rejected compensation payments in the summer of 2021. But according to the Infection Protection Act, these can be applied for in the event that authorities close companies. The law does not say that there are exceptions for certain sectors when it comes to the right to financial compensation.

Laumann criticizes the meat industry

NRW Labor and Health Minister Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU) accuses some companies in the meat industry, including former subcontractors of Tönnies, of violating their duty to protect in connection with their own employees. As a result, infections with the Coronavirus came. The regulation from the Infection Protection Act therefore does not apply, it is said.

Tönnies reminds politicians of promises

After the Corona outbreak, Laumann reminded company boss Clemens Tönnies of his promise. “Mr. Tönnies has publicly announced that he will be fully reimbursed for the costs incurred by the general public as a result of the Corona outbreak in his company. I am surprised that he has not yet reached an agreement with his subcontractors on this.”

Hundreds of cases pending

The judges first dealt with the cases of two employees from Tönnies meat processing. However, according to the administrative court, several hundred procedures are pending in the matter. The Minden administrative court is responsible, among other things, because employees live in their catchment area. According to a spokesman, Tönnies did not comment in advance because the company was not involved.

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