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Greece is having a hard time finding tourist workers because of the risk of increased blockages

After working abroad for 10 years, chef Nicholas Chimidakis returned from Dubai last year hoping that the final recovery from the Greek pandemic and the surge in Mediterranean tourism would bring him a good job.

Like many others, he was disappointed. Tsimidakis struggled to find a job that offered safety and decent wages as the new blockade delayed the reopening of Greece and the start of the tourist season. Reluctantly, he decided to return to the Gulf after finding a high-paying job in Abu Dhabi.

“I had two [job] Offer[in Greece].. .. .. But no one knew when the hotel would open or how long it would open, “said Tsimidakis.

Decisions like him explain why Greece is currently suffering from a labor shortage in tourism. This sector typically accounts for one-fifth of economic output, but potential candidates for restaurant and bar jobs are blocked by the risk of business closures under the new Covid-19 regulations. So I’m having a hard time preparing for the important summer season.

This issue can have serious implications for recovery from a pandemic, given that tourism has a central importance to the economy. “It’s the first time we’ve faced such a shortage in the industry,” said George Cavasas, chairman of the Greek Restaurant and Related Occupational Union.

Chef Nicholas Tsimidakis got a job in Abu Dhabi because of too uncertain employment options in Greece © Nikolas Tsimidakis

Many other countries, Germany etc.It was also difficult to hire bar and restaurant staff as the pandemic was eased. The difference from Greece is the relative size and economic weight of the sector.

It typically employs more than 432,000 people, or 10% of the country’s workforce, almost twice as much as Spain. Therefore, the problem can affect the macro economy.

HSBC predicts that the revival of tourism will boost Greece’s growth by two points this year, after fully accounting for more than two-thirds of the decline in gross domestic product by more than 8% last year.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Christos Stykoulas predicts that tourism revenue will reach € 8 billion in 2021. That’s less than half of 2019’s € 18 billion, but twice the slump in the mid-term pandemic last year when industry revenues fell to € 4 billion.

However, economists now say that despite the EU’s highest unemployment rate of 16.5% in Greece, labor shortages could curb economic growth and lower their economic and revenue forecasts. I’m warning you.

Mykonos Psaruu Beach prepares for late summer tourist season © Byron Smith / Getty Images

“The main sectors that create jobs … tourism, retail, entertainment and more are experiencing uncertainty,” said Nikos Vettas, general director of IOBE, an economic think tank. “It’s unclear how quickly they will return to pre-Covid levels.”

Heracles Gisimopros, owner of bars, hotels and restaurants heading a local tourism industry group on Party Island Mikonos, has blamed repeated cycles of blockades and relaxation of restrictions to discourage workers from getting back to work. ..

“The constant opening and closing of restaurants and bars the previous year creates a great deal of uncertainty, and employees fear that we will be forced to close again,” he said. “That’s why they are looking for other types of jobs like delivery drivers.”

Exacerbating the problem is the oversupply of mediocre cafes, bars and restaurants that do not offer attractive employment prospects. After the financial crisis, the hospitality sector acted as a buffer for many people who were short of work or had low skills.

Michelin-starred chef Lefteris Lazarou struggles to get the job done by the normally coveted staff at Pizzeria’s restaurant, Barourco.

Kavathas calculated that 92% of all new businesses opened between 2010 and 2020 were in the food and beverage sector, leading to a long-term oversupply crisis that came to mind during the pandemic.

“People think it’s an easy profession for anyone to open a cafe, but this isn’t true,” said Cavasus. “Oversupply … Hurts everyone as quality deteriorates and limited profits are shared among more people … What we are seeing right now is the tip of the iceberg is.”

Some restaurant owners say government policies to mitigate the economic impact of Covid-19 have exacerbated the problem. Subsidies paid to employees whose restaurants and bars are closed will continue to be provided as indoor meals have not yet been allowed to resume.

Line chart of rebase (2019 = 100) GDP showing that Greece's pandemic recovery is below the Eurozone average

According to restaurant owners, many workers now prefer to live on state benefits of € 534 per month rather than working in restaurants where salaries start at around € 850 per month. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the subsidy system has cost the government almost 1 billion euros.

Nectarios Nicolopros, owner of a restaurant and bar based in Athens and Serifos, said:

Others see staff shortages as a sign of a broader problem in the Greek labor market.

country’s 10-year economic crisis It has led to unrecovered wage declines, the highest youth unemployment in Europe, and the migration of many skilled workers such as chef Chimidakis.

Bettas, who accused “too much regulation” of making employment in Greece “inflexible,” said staff shortages were “a sign of labor market dysfunction.”

Meanwhile, even the most famous places in Greece are worried.

Michelin-starred chef Lefteris Lazarou said this summer season, his famous restaurant, Barourco, on the coast of Piraeus on the outskirts of Athens, struggled to fill all 76 staff. He said it was the first time. It is usually shot in a blink of an eye.

“Every year, my inbox was full of resumes of people who wanted to work here, so I couldn’t get through them,” he said. “Now I don’t have one.”

Greece is having a hard time finding tourist workers because of the risk of increased blockages

Source link Greece is having a hard time finding tourist workers because of the risk of increased blockages

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