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Migrant workers in the F2F industries in Germany:

The German F2F industries and interrelations with migration and irregularity Germany is among the top food-producing states worldwide. Its food market is characterised by strong competition and oligopolistic tendencies, which result in low price levels. Foreign labour has long been a feature of German food production, with harvesting and meatpacking being particularly dependent on migrant workers. There is little data on sectors like hospitality, delivery and domestic work, where undeclared employment may be common. According to official statistics, 1/3 of the directly hired employees in the food industries are non-German citizens; women make up up to half of migrant workers, depending on the sector. However, these statistics do not include workers in precarious employment like subcontracted, seasonal, and pseudo self-employment (as is common in meatpacking, agriculture, and delivery, respectively). Migrants and women are overrepresented in such precarious work arrangements. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the risks associated with precarious employment, incl. SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks, local lockdown measures, work shortages, and disruptions in the food supply chain. In response, in meatpacking, the German government banned the subcontracting of workers in 2021; whereas, in agriculture, regulations for employing seasonal workers were further relaxed. These discrepancies make Germany an interesting case for studying how migration, work and health are regulated, conflicts negotiated, and crises responded to.

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