No agreement on insurance policies for travel agencies; thousands of jobs at risk

The director of the National Association of Travel Agencies of Serbia (YUTA), Aleksandar Senicic, said that meetings with representatives of insurance companies have begun with the goal of insurers extending travel insurance policies for travel agencies, but no agreement has yet been reached.

Of the approximately 7,500 people who worked in car rental agencies and related services, 4,000 have been fired since March.

The commercial director of Plana Tours travel agency, Milan Vasić, said that 99% of the agencies are working anyway. However, his agency is not working and he fears that he will have to dismiss a significant number of workers.

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Travel agencies have been blocked since October 1, when their travel insurance policies expired, which are the prerequisite for obtaining an operating license. For the past month, travel agencies have been unable to reach an agreement with insurance companies on the extension of their insurance policy because the insurance costs are too high – from 12,000 to 19,000 euro annually. Plus, there is uncertainty about travel due to the pandemic.

“The agencies now only sell individual arrangements such as transport and accommodation, as there is no interest in package deals except some in holidaying on the Kopaonik and in Bulgaria,” said Vasic, adding that his agency was forced to lay off 13 of 27 employees.

The director of Sabra travel agency, Vladimir Vlaho, says that Sabra does not have a licence, hence it remains closed. The agency was opened until October 1, but even then there wasn’t much work to be done.

“We are now using what we have set aside and we will have to lay off workers at the beginning of December, i.e. as soon as the deadline by which we were not allowed to dismiss employees due to the received state aid expires,” Vlaho said.

He added that he would keep only five or six of his 40 employees.

Vlaho also said that since March 15, they have been paying only the basic operating costs and that on January 1, 2021, they will have to pay previously deferred taxes and contributions.

He urges for a solution regarding insurance policies to be found since this problem has annulled the people’s right to work which is “guaranteed by the Constitution of Serbia.”

“The Labour Law must also be changed, because the right to work cannot depend on insurance companies. This is not happening anywhere else in the world,” Vlaho warned.

(N1, 02.11.2020)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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