The Corona outbreak tears open outdated wounds within the Tönnies household

Dusseldorf In mid-Might Clemens Tönnies had appeared in individual for the press convention. In spite of everything, the managing companion of Germany’s largest slaughter firm couldn’t proudly announce that nearly no corona instances have occurred within the firm to date. In distinction to rivals akin to Westfleisch, Vion and Müller Fleisch, who quickly needed to cease manufacturing.

On Wednesday afternoon, alternatively, the 64-year-old, who returned to work after a hospital keep, stayed away from the swiftly convened press convention: his high veterinarian and head of the Corona disaster staff was allowed to announce the unhealthy information. Sadly, “there was a big unfold,” stated Gereon Schulze Althoff meekly.

At Tönnies’ headquarters in Rheda-Wiedenbrück, Westphalia, an acute corona an infection was present in at the least 730 of the greater than 6500 workers. Nevertheless, not all the roughly 1110 assessments ordered by the authorities had been evaluated. The outbreak has critical penalties: the authorities shut down the Tönnies plant in the intervening time. Solely remaining shares could also be produced underneath strict circumstances with a small staff.

For giant slaughterers Clemens Tönnies that is the tremendous meltdown that he completely needed to keep away from. As a result of not solely the corporate is affected. The district of Gütersloh closed all colleges and daycare facilities and quarantined a very good 7,000 individuals. The anger of the residents is nice. Below the motto “Crying youngsters? Determined mother and father? ”They demonstrated on Thursday in entrance of the Tönnies manufacturing unit.

A short time in the past, Clemens Tönnies had vigorously opposed the “basic suspicion” of the meat trade as a corona hotspot. Now he let himself be quoted in a press launch with the thin phrases: “The well being and safety of our workers come first. It isn’t concerning the firm now, it’s concerning the individuals and the circle. ”Not him, however his spokesman apologized publicly.

His nephew Robert Tönnies reacted all of the extra violently: “I’m shocked by the excessive variety of new corona infections in our firm.” The 42-year-old owns half of the household enterprise, the opposite half Uncle Clemens and his son Maximilian. Robert’s father Bernd Tönnies based the slaughtering and chopping plant in 1971. He died in 1994 because of a kidney transplant. Since then, Brother Clemens has continued to run the corporate and made it large.

Years of strife

Uncle and nephew have been in dispute over management and company technique for a few years. The was now re-fueled by the pressured closure by Corona. In a letter to the administration and advisory board, which is on the market to the Handelsblatt, Robert requested them – and thus his uncle – to resign on Wednesday.

The administration of the corporate needed to be transferred to an “skilled and accountable disaster administration” as quickly as attainable, demanded Robert. The corporate was confronted with a “shard of damaged glass”: huge incalculable losses because of the closure of the manufacturing and an already measurable lack of popularity.

An organization spokesman didn’t wish to remark instantly on the verbal frontal assault. It isn’t about “sensitivities” now, he solely stated. The shareholders who work within the firm take duty for the corporate each day. One would additionally like that from Robert Tönnies. This has no operative function, however sits on the advisory board.

Robert Tönnies made critical allegations to the administration and advisory board, which included managers Reinhold Festge and Siegfried Russwurm. The Corona outbreak was the “results of her blockade in abolishing the system of service contracts and her carefree, irresponsible stance on the dangers of the Corona pandemic.” This forces many employees into unacceptable dwelling circumstances which might be related to a excessive threat of an infection.

On the headquarters in Rheda-Wiedenbrück, each second of the greater than 6500 workers is employed by a contract via a subcontractor. Younger Bulgarians and Romanians specifically labored a couple of years in German slaughterhouses in an effort to construct up one thing at residence afterwards. “Staff from Southeast Europe hold the trade going on this nation. As a result of the work is difficult and badly paid, ”says Armin Wiese from the Meals, Pleasure, Gastropub (NGG) Detmold-Paderborn union.

Robert Tönnies is rightly dedicated to raised working circumstances and the abolition of inhumane contracts with subcontractors. Even when he actually pursues his personal pursuits in a dispute along with his uncle, Wiese says.

After slaughterhouses have change into corona hotspots, politicians wish to ban contracts within the slaughter trade. Sooner or later, core work akin to slaughtering and chopping can solely be carried out by our personal workers.
That’s within the spirit of Robert Tönnies. He criticizes that the administration and advisory board have all the time ignored and blocked his numerous proposals to abolish the work contracts – despite the fact that the brand new 2017 company tips present for them.

After an extended dispute, the 2 events Clemens and his son Max and Robert have been tearfully reconciled. However the “Westphalian Peace” didn’t final lengthy. Particularly since uncle and nephew are thought of typical Westphalian stubborns.
Robert Tönnies filed a lawsuit towards an arbitration tribunal in September towards Clemens and Max Tönnies. Robert is worried with the truth that the connection along with his uncle has been damaged. As a result of in response to the unification settlement, disruption triggers a mechanism that’s alleged to provoke a regulated and open gross sales course of. The quantity in dispute quantities to 600 million euros. Based on insiders, it might take three years to decide.

Robert Tönnies prefers to show to different enterprise fashions. For instance, he initiated Electrify, which leases electrical automobiles to small and medium-sized corporations akin to care providers. Based on its personal statements, the Bielefeld firm operates Germany’s largest electrical automobile fleet with greater than 1000 clients. He based 18 months in the past. The web supply service supplies clients with contemporary groceries from farm outlets within the Bielefeld area and is now set to begin in three different cities.

Clemens Tönnies, alternatively, thinks in different dimensions. He desires to proceed increasing with meat worldwide. The skilled meat technician and businessman emphasizes that he eats his piece of meat on daily basis – particularly in corona instances, that is vital to strengthen the immune system, he not too long ago advised the Handelsblatt.

In Germany, the Tönnies Group is the market chief forward of Westfleisch and Vion with a market share of round 20 %. In 2019, the slaughtering and chopping group with round 16,500 workers worldwide achieved document gross sales of seven.three billion euros, a rise of ten %. The profitable export to China helped, the place pork grew to become scarce resulting from African swine fever. In distinction, the slaughter enterprise in Germany is shrinking.

Clemens Tönnies subsequently has bold plans overseas. In December, he opened a Tönnies workplace in Chicago. In China, he’s planning a slaughter three way partnership with the native Dekon group, which plans to speculate a complete of 500 million euros. His nephew felt ignored within the funding. In public, he was fearful whether or not his uncle “could be delusional”.

Racism scandal over Africa

The union sees this much less emotionally. “Clemens Tönnies is an influence man who tries with all means to claim his pursuits towards enterprise companions, workers and authorities”, states unionist Wiese. The Corona outbreak exhibits that Clemens Tönnie’s revenue is extra vital than the well being of his workers. As a result of safety prices cash. “This angle is taking revenge now,” he says.

Tönnies has refused to talk about collective agreements for many years. The rivals Westfleisch and Vion have at the least concluded in-house collective agreements. Tönnies has solely had a works council for a couple of years. Nevertheless, he solely represents a couple of hundred workers and has a tough time, says Wiese.

The pressured closure of the plant was a blow to Clemens Tönnies. “He’s underneath rising political strain – and rightly so,” says the NGG man. Most not too long ago, the passionate soccer fan Tönnies, who had been the pinnacle of Schalke 04’s board of administrators since 2001, got here underneath strain in public due to utterly totally different statements. In August 2019, of all individuals throughout a lecture on “Entrepreneurship with Duty”, he had made derogatory feedback about Africans.

As an alternative of elevating sure taxes within the battle towards local weather change, the German Improvement Minister ought to slightly donate 20 energy crops to Africa every year, he stated. “Then they cease chopping down the bushes and so they cease when it is darkish, once we electrify them to supply youngsters,” stated Tönnies. Violent allegations of racism adopted. Clemens Tönnies left his place at Schalke for 3 months. He apologized and desires to get entangled in Africa support initiatives within the Youngsters’s Emergency.

Financially, this should not trigger him any issues. The US enterprise journal “Forbes” estimates Clemens Tönnies’ fortune at $ 2.three billion – as excessive as that of his nephew Robert. However the property of the 2 rely on the household enterprise – and that’s presently going via its worst disaster.

Extra: After Corona outbreak: Robert Tönnies calls for the resignation of his uncle

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