A few days ago, Jan Böhmermann criticized the Viva con Agua network for working with the Husumer Mineralbrunnen. There is neither collective wages nor a works council. Viva con Agua reacted and explained in the stern interview that they had not known about the desire for a works council and that there was no collective agreement for mineral springs in Schleswig-Holstein. However, the Husum bottling partner is voluntarily based on a collective agreement from the neighboring state of Lower Saxony.
Philipp Thom sees it differently. He is the managing director of the Food-Genuss-Gaststätten Union (NGG) for the Schleswig-Holstein North region and has been involved with the Husum mineral springs since 2018. "There is a collective agreement for manufacturers of soft drinks in Schleswig-Holstein. After paying in our country, the Fürst-Bismarck-Quelle and the Hella-Mineralbrunnen also do so," he tells Stern. However, the Husumer Mineralbrunnen "orients itself" to the Lower Saxony collective agreement. "In terms of pay, it happens to be one of the worst in the country," says Thom.
When asked why the Husumer Mineralbrunnen does not act like the other beverage producers based in Schleswig-Holstein, the company replies: "The named companies both belong to the global player Refresco. This international conglomerate has much greater international market power." Thus, Refresco has "greater economic power" than the medium-sized Husumer Mineralbrunnen, which is located in a structurally weak region, and can therefore pay according to the tariff.
In addition, the topic has been occupying the staff of the Husumer Mineralbrunnen for years. As early as 2018, employees joined the Food-Genuss-Gaststätten (NGG) trade union on their own initiative to organize themselves. This is reported by a former employee who wishes to remain anonymous. The star verified that he worked for the company.
According to him, an employee was "suggested" by the management to leave the NGG again. In addition, notices for the establishment of a works council were repeatedly removed. Employees are also said to have complained about the lack of heating in the warehouse, shifts of up to ten hours and a lack of summer vacation. The former employee also knows about this. The Husumer Mineralbrunnen did not want to comment on these allegations when asked by stern.
According to stern information, the events described took place between 2017 and 2019. The ex-employee left the company shortly afterwards, also because of the working conditions. When asked, Viva con Agua replied that they had "written confirmations available" that no requests for a works council had been made to the executive floor until the former owner left in 2018 and from the time the current managing director joined at the end of 2019. No information can be given about the time in between, but Viva con Agua also worked with the Husum company during this period.
According to Benjamin Adrion, Viva con Agua co-founder is currently in talks with the mineral water company and the NGG trade union. The press spokesman for Viva con Agua says: "Together we would like to further develop the constructive exchange between the NGG trade union and the Husumer Mineralbrunnen. We are evaluating various options, for example the conclusion of an in-house collective agreement." But the prerequisite for this is that more Husum employees join the union.