Low Wages for Seasonal Workers in Croatian Tourist Industry

Total Croatia News

Despite record revenues and profits in tourism, workers’ salaries are below Croatian average.

How much is the average salary of workers in the tourism industry is one of the best kept secrets of the sector. “Information about average income of seasonal workers is one of our trade secrets and we are not able to supply the requested information” – that was a common reply of some of ten largest hotel companies asked to provide information on their average salaries, reports Jutarnji List on January 3, 2017.

Tourism is one of the most developed sectors in Croatian economy which now accounts for more than 19 percent of GDP and employs about 25,000 seasonal workers. In 2015, just the largest tourism companies had more than five billion kuna in revenues and more than 650 million kuna in profits.

The largest employer in the hotel industry, Valamar Riviera, was the only of the ten largest companies which agreed to send at least a general answer about its wage policies. It is also one of few companies which does not calculate salaries according to the base salary defined by the collective agreement, which in 2016 amounted to 2,900 kuna. For its workers. Valamar uses a base salary of 3,370 kuna, which is then multiplied by a coefficient defined for each particular position in the company.

“Valamar Riviera is one of the most desirable employers in Croatia. Since 2012, average salaries at Valamar have been continuously growing even faster than the average at the national level. In 2016, the average net salary was 5,825 kuna, which is 24 percent higher than the industry average and 3 percent more than the Croatian average”, reported Valamar.

Importanne Resort company reported that in 2015 its average salary amounted to 5,319 kuna, without taking into account accommodation costs for employees which are also covered by the company.

However, this data on average wages is “improved” by salaries of administrative staff and hotel managements. In order to find out real average salaries for workers in the tourism industry, it was necessary to obtain wage models of five hotel companies which show base salaries of tourism workers in all occupations, mainly in hotels with three and four stars.

What follows is an overview of salaries in the tourism industry calculated in gross amount without bonuses. According to available data, it seems that the most difficult starting position have seasonal workers who earn their salaries in Dalmatia, especially central and southern Dalmatia, where starting salary is slightly lower than in the rest of the country. The base salary for maids there ranges from 3,200 to 4,600 kuna. A waiter in Dalmatia will earn from 3,500 kuna gross for lowest ranking servers to 6,200 kuna gross for the highest category, while the wages of chefs there range from 4,800 to 8,400 kuna gross (around 3,700 to 5,800 kuna net).

Workers in Istria have somewhat higher average salaries, mainly due to the fact that there are more upper class hotels. Maids in Istria will work on average for between 4,000 and 4,400 kuna gross (3,100 to 3,400 kuna net), waiters earn between 4,500 and 5,800 kuna gross (3,400 to 4,300 net), while receptionists receive between 5,600 and 6,700 kuna gross (4,200 to 4,900 net).

According to Eduard Andrić, president of the Croatian Trade Union of Tourism and Services, salaries in the tourism industry are lower than the average wage in Croatia by about 13 percent, and do not reach that level even after bonuses are added to the base salaries. Bonuses are paid for working in shifts, working afternoons and nights.


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