Croatian Hospitality Facilities Desperate for Staff as Pandemic Takes Toll

Lauren Simmonds

Updated on:

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the cry of one utterly desperate Croatian hospitality facility owner from Pula states that 1000 kuna is on offer as a gift to anyone who can find him a waiter for the season.

Although the season has already begun, and there are more and more tourists in Pula, Croatian hospitality facilities are looking for trained waiters. This owner was left without a waiter one morning because they simply didn’t show up for work after a stormy night. New ones are hard to find, so they’re waiting for workers from Serbia for whom the dreaded paperwork is still being dealt with by MUP.

Although many expected that because of the pandemic, we’d be falling over would-be local employees for Croatian hospitality facilities because many have returned home from working abroad, and that employers might take advantage of this situation by diminishing their rights, the total opposite has happened. Amazingly, this year there is a shortage of domestic labour on the market, writes Deutsche Welle.

From the beginning of the year to June the 16th, the Ministry of the Interior (MUP) issued 31,157 residence and work permits for third-country nationals, 13 percent more than last year during the same period, but also a fifth less than the year before. This year, 4,191 such permits were issued for work in the tourism and catering industry alone.

“Although some workers returned to Croatia due to the pandemic, there is still a noticeable shortage of labour in some industries, especially in tourism and catering, construction, and there is a lack of craftsmen such as electricians and locksmiths. From March 2020 to the end of May this year, public authorities paid more than 10.5 billion kuna for the salaries of more than 680,000 workers through job preservation support measures. Those measures cover more than 120,000 craftsmen and employers,” explained Kresimir Sever, President of the Independent Croatian Trade Unions.

As a result of the ongoing coronavirus crisis, trade unionists have faced various abuses by some employers: from forcing workers into taking their annual leave, the non-payment of the corresponding difference between the contracted salary and paid state aid, to the reduction of the contracted salary without employee consent.

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