The Emsland Group offered a packed agenda of three different events on this historically hot day – while nearby Lingen set a new record for Germany with its recorded temperature of 42.6°C.
Everything got started in the morning with the annual Health Day, led by Ms. Katrin Neumann, head of occupational health and safety. The premises of Emsland-Stärke GmbH played host to a number of activities relating to work safety and fire protection, all in keeping with the company’s stated goal: Zero Accidents. There was a DRK (German Red Cross) booth offering detailed First Aid refreshers, among other attractions such as educational campaigns about back and spine health and safety shoes/insoles; during the latter, participants had their feet measured. The local fire department conducted some spectacular drills with fire extinguishers.
The event featured not only delicious nonalcoholic cocktails and smoothies, but also fresh fruit.
At 2 PM, the Works Council invited participants to attend a staff meeting. Although the tent set up for the occasion was continually cooled off with water sprayed from outside, the crowd of around 200 guests that gathered there still generated tropical temperatures within the tent. For this reason, all the speakers kept things briefer than usual. However, the weather was still the topic on everyone’s lips. Right off the bat, supervisory board chair Gebhardt Bakker described the effects of the heat wave on his farm in his opening remarks. According to him, the previous year’s harvest was just barely enough for the farm to break even, and that itself was solely due to the drought subsidies provided by the Emsland Group. In this case, however, neither wages nor leasing fees were included in the calculations. This continues to be bad news in terms of the harvest, as it can be assumed that this year’s crop yield will not be any more profitable than the year prior.
Mr. Gerrit-Jan Wesselink (spokesperson for the management and executive board of the Emsland-Stärke AG holding company) also addressed the disastrous harvest situation and the program to secure raw materials during his review of the 2018/2019 financial year. He predicted that these aspects, as well as the associated price increases, will continue to have consequences for the current financial year. Wesselink also noted that the positive operating results despite the difficulty of the situation were due to swift decision-making regarding the strategy for raw materials purchasing, SCM, and sales. Numerous innovations in research and development also played a crucial role in achieving this outcome. During this new financial year, the contractual basis has been expanded, bolstering confidence in turn. Mr. Wesselink also views the sizeable number of planned and approved investments in a positive light. The takeover of Emsland Service GmbH – or rather its return to the company fold after 20 years’ absence – is to him an event to be celebrated. Nonetheless, the group will continue to face major challenges going forward that can only be overcome through teamwork.
Following other remarks from representatives in plant management/production and HR, as well as a guest speaker from the NGG Union, the meeting was brought to a close with Works Council chair Alfred Weiden’s thank-you to Berthold Reiners, for whom this would be the final staff meeting in his over 30-year tenure on the Works Council and 28 years as chair. This was followed by a lengthy round of applause for Mr. Reiners.
The third event on the agenda was the closing barbecue. The employees were able to fill up on delicious food and closed out the evening in a convivial atmosphere.
We would like to thank everyone who organized the day, not to mention all our colleagues who enthusiastically participated.