Reconstruction in areas hit by the devastating earthquake in Sisak-Moslavina County will not be possible without importing workers from Asia or Ukraine, the Večernji List daily said in an article on Friday, noting that contractors in Croatia are warning of a critical labour shortage.
The construction sector is one of the few sectors in which the number of workers increased last year, by about 7,000 from the same period in 2019.
Currently there are about 124,000 workers in the construction sector, the third largest in the country, after the manufacturing industry and retail. However, all stakeholders in that sector say that manpower will be the main obstacle to reconstruction in the earthquake-hit areas.
Even prior to the latest earthquake companies in the sector had up to 5,000 vacancies that they could not fill even with workers from foreign markets. In 2020 contractors employed about 23,000 foreign workers while Mirjana Cagalj, the vice president of the construction sector in the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), expects they will all remain and that contractors will have to hire another 10,000 imported workers.
Recently channels were opened to hire workers from India and other Asian countries as well as Ukraine.
The Employment Service has decided to enhance its programme to hire the long-term unemployed for public works in Sisak-Moslavina County, its initial plan being to employ about 500 people. Should there be further interest or need, that number can be increased.
Workers in these jobs are earning a minimum wage which amounts to 3,400 kuna net a month, in addition to travel allowance.
Social Democrat MP Davorko Vidović, who is from Sisak and has for years been working with the HGK on issues related to the labour market, is confident that that programme could provide a social component but that it will not resolve the problem of labour shortage in the construction sector, the daily says.