Latvian farms look to employ those hit by crisis

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Many Latvian farms lacked the necessary amount of workers even before the Covid-19 novel coronavirus pandemic, and are turning to those newly unemployed due to the crisis to find new work hands, according to Latvian Agricultural Organization Cooperation Council (LOSP) Director General Guntis Vilnītis on March 29.

“The field of work where you can make some money working in the fresh air while helping a farmer is very broad,” said Vilnītis.

Usually this is the time when farms would rely on an influx of seasonal workers, but as one of the precautionary restrictive measures the government imposed to limit the spread of the coronavirus included closing national borders, this will no longer be an option. Berry season is almost upon us, and farms also need helping hands to take in vegetables in greenhouses.

Whether a person has more technical qualifications or could help with seasonal labor, Vilnītis said the LOSP is ready to become the middleman and help connect the unemployed with farmers. Those who want to work can apply to the organization indicating their preferred geographical region, and they will do their best to connect them with farms.

As reported, many companies are closed during the Covid-19 outbreak, but others are seeing increased demand for services and products. These latter now tend to absorb part of the workforce that is seeing downtime.

One example is the Karavela fish processing company, which has been importing workers as the company has had employee shortages for the past two years. Demand for jobs is high. The company hopes to fill 80 vacancies but is now receiving 300 to 400 calls a day from people seeking work.

Elīna Novada, the head of the digital market, says increased demand for local products has made the company seek more employees. She says the company had to move to larger premises in response to growing demand – and did so within a day's time. 

Also reported last week, the number of companies who've notified the State Employment Agency about mass lay-offs due to the Covid-19 virus outbreak is up to 10, with a total of 1,660 people to be fired. The industries affected are transport and storage, hospitality and food, wholesale, processing, water and sanitary utilities, as well as waste management.

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