One year after the end of the work contract regulation
Tönnies presses ahead resolutely with the process of transformation
Rheda-Wiedenbrück, 06. January 2022 – Exactly one year after the end of work contracts in the meat industry, the Tönnies Group has drawn up an interim balance sheet. In the past 15 months, 8,500 employees in Germany have been taken on as direct employees. Digital time recording has been implemented at all sites and forms the basis for payroll accounting. In addition, Tönnies has taken over 2,000 apartments with 5,800 places in 800 properties throughout Germany, most of which have already been renovated and refurnished.
Thanks to the consistent implementation of the new occupational health and safety regulations and the NRW Housing Promotion Act, as well as the additional standards and specifications defined by the company, extraordinary improvements have been achieved in terms of the housing situation for employees. One third of all employees at Tönnies would like to live in housing managed by the company and its newly founded company. More than 70 percent of employees live privately. “We have achieved a lot here in the past twelve months. We’re not finished yet, but we’re on a very good path,” says Martin Bocklage, head of human resources at the Tönnies Group.
In 2021, Tönnies Immobilien Services (TIS) realized:
- In total, invested a high double-digit million amount in residential space
2,000 apartments with 5,800 living spaces in 800 properties taken over
Existing leases were renegotiated and standardized for the benefit of employees
- 60 percent of the apartments have already been renovated, 30 percent already met our defined standard when we took them over. 10 percent of the apartments are due for renovation in the short or medium term.
- 1.5 million euros invested in furnishing these properties alone
- 450 new kitchens worth more than 300,000 euros purchased
- Existing furniture taken over and supplemented where necessary with electrical appliances and individual new pieces of furniture
Employees pay 210 euros in rent per person – 120 euros in cold rent and 90 euros in ancillary costs
- This includes electricity, water, energy, waste disposal and all furniture including electrical appliances such as washing machines or refrigerators, often also Internet.
- Janitor service including cleaning of common areas such as staircases and corridors, minor repairs and emergency service.
At least one inspection of each apartment every quarter
“The accusations made by a TV magazine in December that the living situations of EU employees in particular violate legal requirements are not true. In the documented individual cases, it is mainly a matter of housing privately rented by employees or also a house that we have unrented at the beginning of the year and which the owner has already demolished months ago,” Martin Bocklage continues.
The local authorities at the Tönnies locations in Germany and in the vicinity of the main plant in Rheda-Wiedenbrück attest to the company’s consistently positive changes. In this context, the first alderman of the town of Rheda-Wiedenbrück, Dr. Georg Robra, even speaks of a “paradigm shift” since Tönnies took over housing management. This is also confirmed after regular control inspections of the residential properties, which are carried out by the responsible authorities unannounced or together with TIS and native-speaking integration staff of the group of companies.
This is stated in a report of the Social Affairs and Integration Department of the City of Rheda-Wiedenbrück dated September 16, 2021 to the Committee for Social Affairs, Migration and Sports:
The Municipal Housing Control is aware of 470 properties in which people with the background of labor migration live. Of these, 366 are privately rented, 85 are rented by Tönnies Immobilien Services, and 19 are rented by other housing providers or are being converted/renovated. Unannounced inspections of the properties take place on a regular basis. The focus of the several hundred inspections was on adequate living space, fire protection and the general condition of the apartments.
Tönnies Immobilien Services has proven to be a very reliable direct contact.
Any problems identified are dealt with and remedied quickly.
Housing conditions have improved significantly since the end of the work contracts.
With the expiry of employment opportunities via work contracts, the Tönnies Group has taken over 8,500 employees, mainly from EU member states, into direct employment relationships, who are employed in the core areas of the food company. At the same time, the company is building its own structures, above all in order to be able to recruit personnel without external advice and support. For example, the company’s own recruitment offices in Serbia, Poland and Romania are currently being set up or have already gone into operation. In Belgrade, a training program has been initiated in cooperation with a German educational institution to train young technical staff for the industry.
The international recruitment of personnel still requires the support of external service providers during the transition phase of the transformation. In addition to recruiting employees in the countries of origin, the experienced service companies are particularly active in language mediation and, together with the Tönnies integration team, in on-site integration.
In a very challenging year for everyone through Corona, the Tönnies Group is satisfied with the progress of the transformation. Martin Bocklage: “But there is no reason to slacken in these efforts. On the contrary: the path of change we have embarked on is to be consistently pursued further.”