Social & Economic rights

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Roma Face Multiple Discrimination in the Labour Market in Kraljevo

1 March 2021


One of the conclusions of the research presented today in Kraljevo by the non-governmental organisation Praxis is that even when Roma have a job, they are poorly paid and often perform jobs that are dangerous to their lives and health.

“These are the least valued jobs in society, because due to the prejudices that society has towards Roma, they are usually given such kind of jobs”, said Marija Dražović, Praxis Policy and Research Coordinator.

She also pointed out that the Roma national minority considered that the measures implemented with the aim of employing Roma men and women were not adjusted to the real needs of potential beneficiaries and that they should be redefined.

The research findings also show that members of the Roma national minority are highly exposed to discrimination, insults, denigration and hate speech, as well as that they are not familiar with the mechanisms for the protection of the right to equality. The research has shown that the fear of victimisation is one of the important reasons why Roma do not seek protection from discrimination.

This publication is based on the research conducted by Praxis in the period June-August 2020 in order to provide insight into the key challenges encountered by the Roma national minority in the labour market in Kraljevo, the efficiency of active employment policy measures, and the occurrence and most common forms of discrimination against Roma men and women in the field of work and employment.

Praxis conducted this research on a sample of 100 Roma in Kraljevo, including 66 Roma who had never been formally employed. Nearly half of them have not finished even primary school, while 40% of them said they were not looking for a job at all.

Ms. Dražović said that this situation resulted from the fact that Roma men and women were a multiple vulnerable social group.

“There are 417 Roma registered with the National Employment Service, and 365 of them have completed primary school or several grades of primary school, while only one person has a university degree," said Srbislav Antonijević, Employment Counsellor at the National Employment Service, Kraljevo Branch.

Milun Jovanović, Assistant Mayor of the City of Kraljevo responsible for human rights issues, also spoke at the conference and said that the local authorities in Kraljevo planned to work on “functional adult education, housing and health care”. Jovanović also spoke about public works as one of the best opportunities for the City to help Roma. Another option was the assistance through the City's self-employment competitions, to which, unfortunately, a small number of Roma applied, usually due to a lack of confidence about their ability to do anything.

“We must all work together to make the community aware of the importance of being included in the measures offered to them. It seems to me that long-term discrimination and marginalisation, especially of the poorest Roma, is the cause of their distrust in the possibility of changing anything. All of us together - civil society, local self-government, the media and the public - have to analyse the current measures and design new ones,” said Marijana Luković, Praxis Executive Director.

The Praxis research showed that Roma were mostly satisfied with the way they had been treated and with their level of understanding the information received from the National Employment Service. Although they had confidence in the work of the NES and its staff, they did not believe that this service was able to find them a job, i.e. they did not see the effects of the measures.

The Praxis research also showed that the living conditions of Roma had further deteriorated during the pandemic.

It is disconcerting that a large number of them do not even know how to fill in an ordinary payment order - which is devastating for the whole society. Half of the Roma respondents said that they had a business idea, but also that they did not have any start-up capital, that they were afraid of not being able to survive in the market or maintain their business, which is why they did not dare to implement their business ideas.

“We need the promotion of good practice examples - we need the media to widely spread the news about successful Roma men and women who have started their own business, for example. This would have a positive impact on other members of the community, encouraging them to be more included in active employment policy programmes and use other available resources, and would change the awareness of the entire population about the Roma community”, said Ms. Dražović.

The publication was prepared as part of the project "Improving the Position of Roma Men and Women in the Labour Market in the City of Kraljevo”, implemented by the City of Kraljevo, in partnership with the non-governmental organisation Praxis. The project is implemented as part of a grant scheme under the programme "EU Support to Roma Inclusion - Empowering Local Communities for Roma Inclusion", funded by the European Union and implemented by the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities.


The publication is available HERE

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