The Slovenia Times

Slovenian workers losing jobs in Austria due to Covid-19 spread


"The circumstances are uncertain and volatile, and it is hard to get reliable information," Mario Fekonja, the head of the union of Slovenian migrant workers, told the STA on Tuesday.

He highlighted that the biggest issue was redundancies, most notably mutual consent employment terminations, often used in Austria, which did not warrant getting unemployment allowance in Slovenia.

According to the Austrian public broadcaster ORF, the country saw as much as 16,000 redundancies made in a day, he added.

Austrian employers have been urged to provide any worker made redundant with a document proclaiming the step a temporary lay-off and thus ensuring the workers get unemployment benefits. However, most employers fail to do this, said Fekonja.

A great number of Slovenians commute to Austria to work in healthcare and food industry, sectors which are at the moment in desperate need of any additional workforce.

Such commuter workers have not been experiencing any difficulties crossing the border so far. Austria is to temporarily close dozens of small crossings on the border with Slovenia to curb the spread, with major crossings remaining open.

There is no exact number of Slovenian commuter workers to Austria, but the ballpark figure is between 20,000 and 30,000.

Meanwhile, Hungary closed its border for passenger transport today except for Hungarian citizens and commuter workers. Lendava Mayor Janez Magyar told the STA that the commuter workers were able to cross the border both with Hungary and Croatia without any complications.

Few Slovenians are travelling to Hungary on a regular basis to work there, but the number of Hungarian commuter workers to Slovenia is larger, most of them working in pubs and restaurants. Due to a ban on such venues amid coronavirus concerns, they are staying home until further notice.


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