Business News

Small business urge government against new closure

Ljubljana, 30 March (STA) - The Chamber of Craft and Small Business (OZS) hosted on Tuesday Labour Minister Janeza Cigler Kralj to express protest over the renewed closure of small businesses, which they find discriminatory given that large companies will be able to resume their work without disruption.

Members of the executive committee of the OZS expressed concern and disappointment over the services sector being subjected to another Covid-19 closure which will take place at least from 1 to 11 April, the chamber said in a press release.

"We cannot accept the theory that the possibility of infection in small workshops and salons is greater than in large production halls with 500 or 1,000 employees. Our members tell us that they want to work and not receive aid," OZS president Branko Meh said.

He called on Cigler Kralj to communicate to the government that people should simply get used to living and working with the virus, noting that many people would lose their jobs because of the business closure.

"We no longer accept the government closing small business. If you think that the disease is so severe, then close everybody, the entire economy. This is what you should tell Prime Minister Janez Janša," Meh said.

The minister said he "understands and hears" that small businesses are in an uneven position. "We have preserved 300,000 jobs with measures. Employment of unemployed persons was up by 14.5% in 2020 over the year before," he noted.

Cigler Kralj also pointed to the importance of vaccination, and noted that the government had endorsed his proposal for subsidised quarantine and absence from work due to force majeure be extended until the end of April.

However, the OZS said it did not get an answer to the question why the government had decided to close small businesses. Blaž Cvar of the chamber's hospitality and tourism industry section noted that the situation in the sector was critical.

"We have been closed for seven months and a half, bar for delivery. Each month of closure means a 8.3% drop in turnover," he said, adding that this meant that only the establishments that had been fully closed would be eligible for compensation.

"Our members expect compensation for the loss of turnover and different conditions for aid measures. Many of them are excluded from all measures because they do not meet the criteria of a 50% drop in revenue," Cvar warned.

Drago Delalut of the Association of Employers in Craft and Small Business said the hospitality industry could easily operate safely, and that there was "concern that we will have the staff once our establishments are reopened".

Our employees have taken loans and they need social security. This is why our staff is running away to other industries. Please let us work," he said.

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