Strained Summer: ”My Employee Went To The Coast For Double The Wage”

Lauren Simmonds

As the demographic crisis bites, many tourist oriented businesses have been forced to go to great lengths to secure staff for the summer season.

As droves take advantage of their EU citizenship to try their luck elsewhere, many business owners, particularly those who cater to tourists and make the vast majority, if not all of their income during the summer season, are struggling immensely to find employees. With offers of more money, better accommodation, and a whole host of desirable benefits, employers are competing with each other for staff. And at the same time, we hear the endless stories about there being no jobs in Croatia, a little paradoxical? Yes, but that’s another story.

In addition to the already pressing issues being faced by employers, there are actually no instruments in the country to protect employers from such uncomfortable situations.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 27th of June, 2018, although the weather has felt much like springtime for an eerily long time now, summer has officially begun, and for continental Croatia in particular, this naturally means a massive departure of people off to work for the season, heading either overseas or to the coast. Traders and chefs go, both skilled and unskilled waiters, too, as well as waiters, bar tenders, and more.

Over the last few months, many Osijek tourism workers and business owners have experienced some of their best workers resigning and heading off to the sea or abroad in search of higher wages and better conditions. Often, this happens on an entirely unannounced basis and the workers leave without sticking to the specifications of a work contract, such as abiding by the classic thirty day notice. One example of such behaviour was provided to Glas Slavonije by the owner of a popular Osijek cafe, who wished to remain anonymous.

“There was a girl who worked at my place, a very good and valuable employee. She worked six days a week for six hours, for a salary of 3,500 kuna. One day, she received a call from the coast saying that they need waiters, of course for double the salary and with paid accommodation and meals included, so she went for the season the next day. She didn’t even tell anyone about it, nor did she work her notice. In one day, I was left without a worker. So, I found myself in a situation where I didn’t know who would be off doing the same thing tomorrow, and whether I could even open the cafe at all. After that, I went to complain to the Croatian Employment Service, but they couldn’t help me. They told me that there are no instruments in our country that would protect such employers from such situations,” concluded the Osijek cafe owner.


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