Unionists partly satisfied with new gov't jobkeeping measures

NEWS 20.10.2020 16:19
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Source: N1

Union leaders Mladen Novosel and Kresimir Sever have said that they are partly satisfied with the government's latest jobkeeping measures, and they consider the 70% reduction of working hours good but think that grading aid for employers is problematic.

“The measure that envisages shorter working hours is good, as of now they can be shortened by up to 70%, with the state providing subsidies in the amount of HRK 2,000 per employee, so that’s good,” Novosel told state agency Hina.

He welcomed the lowering of the threshold for elegibility for government Covid-19 aid, with employers no longer having to experience a drop in turnover of 60% to become eligible for it, but rather a drop of 40%.

What Novosel finds problematic is the possibility for employers who use government aid to be able to lay off workers for whom they have not sought government assistance.

“Unfortunately, this is something that has started happening, notably in the tourism sector, and we find it completely unacceptable,” he warned.

He noted that it was unacceptable that state money, paid into the budget by all taxpayers and now used to help keep jobs, can at the same time enable employers to lay off workers, notably those with open-end contracts.

NHS union leader Kresimir Sever said he agreed with shorter working hours which had also been sought by trade unions.

He said that also acceptable was the way in which the government intended to check the eligibility of employers for state support, but that the possibility for employers who receive state aid to lay off workers was not good.

“We had asked for that period to be extended for some time after one has received aid, rather than making it possible for an employer to keep workers while receiving state aid, and when there is no longer state aid, they can lay them off,” said Sever.

He noted that union members on the ground were warning that employers were trying to get rid of older workers, noting that the government must not allow employers to abuse its measures.

“(It must not allow them) to get rid of a part of workers in the process, whom they will later hire again under different conditions or replace with imported labour from the Philippines, Bangladesh or elsewhere,” said Sever.