Who doesn’t want to hear

Temporary employment agencies illegally smuggle workers into the German meat industry. The companies should take a better look.

Freshly slaughtered pigs hang on in a cold store of the meat company Tönnies.

SThe public prosecutor and the police could not emphasize it enough on Wednesday: The investigation is against temporary employment agencies that are said to have smuggled Eastern European workers illegally into the country – and not against the German meat companies that gave the workers a knife and saw to cut the pork halves.

The companies cannot be blamed, at least from a legal point of view: The persons concerned all had to show valid papers and a work permit, approved by the responsible German authorities. Asking companies to verify the identity of the loaned workers is certainly going too far.

And yet it would be in the interests of the industry, which has already fallen into disrepute, to take a closer look at who it actually employs. Ukrainian students as interns in the butcher shop? Common sense should be enough to make you skeptical.

But just as Tönnies and Co. have for a long time accepted the inhuman working conditions of their manual workers, people seem to have turned a blind eye here too. It is good that politics is now taking action. If you don’t want to hear, you just have to feel.