December 7, 2023 – The lack of workers, even with the fact that wages are increasing, continues to torment the Croatian Post, a state-owned company that has the largest number of employees in Croatia and which, like most employers, has to look for workers elsewhere.
As Poslovni writes, this spring, the Croatian post announced a tender for an agency to mediate in the employment of foreign workers, looking for a total of 130. However, at first the interest expressed in the job itself was ‘thin’, and then even the selected agency did not sign the contract.
According to the announcement on the public procurement bulletin board, two companies have submitted bids, for only two of the four areas of Croatia, that is, for the area including the City of Zagreb, Zagreb Ring, and Krapina-Zagorje County, and for the area of Istria and Primorje-Gorski Kotar County.
The offer from the Humble Hunters company was judged to be incomplete, so the second one, the Manpower company’s offer, was accepted. However, the Croatian representative office of this global corporation for employment and human resources refused to sign the contract for 12-month cooperation. The Croatian Post explains why.
Manpower Refuses to Sign Contract
“The public procurement contract was not concluded because Manpower refused to sign the contracts, considering that in addition to the costs included in the bid price, it had the right to request compensation for additional costs related to mediation services. Considering that this was not acceptable to the Croatian Post as a party to the Law on Public Procurement, and the same was clearly stipulated in the procurement documentation, the procedure was cancelled,” the Croatian Post says.
Among the nearly nine thousand employees, the state-owned company currently has 81 foreign nationals. Most of them, 52, arrived from distant countries, primarily India and the Philippines, as well as Nepal and Bangladesh, while the rest were employed from neighboring countries – Serbia, BiH, and North Macedonia. These workers are mainly distributed in the areas of Dubrovnik, the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, and Zagreb.
What will the failed competition for an intermediary in the employment of foreigners mean for filling the ‘gaps’ and securing workers in deficit areas? The Croatian Post says that the tender will probably be repeated next year, but they also point out that it is calculated that the ongoing increase in salaries for employees will also ease the intensity of the search for workers in the so-called third countries, and that in the future it will be easier to reach workers on the domestic market.
In recent years, the interest in postal jobs among domestic workers has weakened due to low wages, and postal unions have warned that due to the introduction of new services and activities, there have been changes in the scope of work.
25 Percent Wage Increase
“We are aware that the only and best answer to the challenges of the labor market is an increase in wages, so in July the Management of Croatian Post and union representatives agreed on a 25 percent wage increase for all Croatian Post workers.
The increase in salaries, which we are implementing in a period of three phases, will be finalized in March 2024,” the Croatian Post emphasizes. They note that this is a continuation of the improvement of workers’ material rights that began last year when the salary for eight thousand workers in operational jobs was increased by 20 percent.
By the way, the failed tender stipulated that the agency for Croatian Post would organize the arrival of foreign workers, which includes obtaining visas and medical examinations, as well as accommodation and registration of residence in Croatia, and opening the workers’ accounts in Croatia.
The price of the service offered by Manpower for mediation was favorable for the conditions, more precisely, for the employment of workers in the Zagreb area, their offer was 55.7 thousand euros, and for the northern Adriatic counties 44.5 thousand euros.
The tender will probably be repeated next year, but the Post office also expects that the increase in wages will attract local workers.