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Uniting Food, Farm and Hotel Workers World-Wide

Employment in Greek poultry industry 'on brink of collapse'

Posted to the IUF website 19-Mar-2006

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According to the head of the Greek poultry producers federation, plummeting consumer demand in the wake of the rapid spread of the virus in wild fowl has left the sector "on the brink of collapse", though no case has yet been detected in domestic farm poultry. In a March 17 interview with Reuters, Spyron Nonikas said that if current trends continued 6,000 jobs in the sector would be eliminated by summer � with another 7,000 jobs indirectly linked to the sector at risk, including restaurants and supermarkets.

"The only way out of this is if the Prime Minister declares a state of emergency in our sector and the government takes over all payments for debts, wages and other obligations," Nonikas said.

Compensation for poultry workers affected by the spread of the virus, however, has yet to figure in any of the public agency plans being formulated to address the crisis at global, regional or national level. Nor have any of these plans, as the IUF has repeatedly point out, failed to specifically target poultry workers as possible vectors for the spread of the pathogen or as potential victims in the front line of exposure.

The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) recent Proposal for a "Global Programme for Avian Influenza Control and Eradication (January 2006) contains not a single reference to poultry workers.