The first wave of COVID-19 pandemic led to 200,000 people being laid off, or eight per cent of employees in Serbia, the National Alliance for Local Economic Development (NALED) said on Thursday, but the Labour Ministry denied the data.
The Alliance, which assembles some 300 companies, added the uncertainty in the labour market had a significantly negative impact on the Roma people and other marginalised groups.
However, after the conference “Inclusion – Solidarity and Potential for Development,” organised in cooperation with GIZ, the Ministry of Labour said the National Employment Service’s data showed that 44,105 people lost jobs from the beginning of the pandemic.
“The unemployment rate is 7.3 per cent, which is the lowest so far,” the Ministry said in a statement, adding the Government helped prevent “mass layoffs” by paying salaries to more than a million employees.
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German Ambassador Thomas Schieb told the conference the COVID-19 pandemic “brought uncertainty into the daily life of local communities” and that marginalised groups were particularly vulnerable and suffered “significant consequences of that situation.”
“There is an obvious need for a better-coordinated response by local governments to help their communities, especially those most affected by the current situation,” Shib said.
NALED Executive Director Violeta Jovanovic said that, according to official data, about 150,000 Roma live in Serbia, and that unofficially that number is up to four times higher.
This post is also available in: Italiano