Reorganized all its resources to resolving emerging issues and providing assistance to members

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Violeta JELIĆ
Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts

The Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts (hereinafter "the Chamber") is an independent professional business organisation of tradespersons and craftspersons, founded with the aim of promoting, coordinating and representing the joint interests of trades and crafts professions.

The members of the Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts are tradespersons and craftspersons who practice a trade in the Republic of Croatia. It has 90 000 members.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted a large number of businesses. The crisis has severely affected and still affects the Chamber's members, who represent the most vulnerable group – micro and small entrepreneurs.

Representing tradespersons and craftspersons, the Chamber promptly responded to the crisis by reorganising all of its (human) resources and redeploying them to solving emerging issues and providing assistance to its members.

(In order to save members' businesses and jobs, a large number of proposals and requests were sent to the Croatian Government, ministries and other competent institutions. It is important to stress that most of these requests were accepted. They included ensuring that all of the Chamber's self-employed members received monthly financial support from the Croatian Employment Service; deferral and write-off of taxes and contributions; special measures with regard to types of activity, etc.; solving everyday obstacles faced by goods carriers at borders; ensuring easier movement of craftspersons and their workers during the quarantine; deferral and write-off of various monthly costs (loans, leases, rent, etc.) and many others.)

During the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, enquiries arrived by phone, social media and email: koronaathok [dot] hr.

This email address was open for business-related issues during the pandemic and often received up to five enquiries per minute, or more than 180 emails per hour.

In 2020, the Advisory Service of the Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts was extremely active in answering enquiries and in advising on the special business conditions caused by the lockdown and the introduction of epidemiological measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Accordingly, it was also a key player in designing and proposing measures in cooperation with other organisations and bodies, of which almost 80% were accepted. Finally, the service also proposed more transparent and clearer ways of using the measures to protect the economy and preserve jobs. It talked to craftspersons and representatives of institutions and found better and more appropriate solutions.

In 2020, the Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts sent 160 written proposals to improve crafts businesses to the competent authorities.

All proposals have been published for public inspection in the new section of the HOK website.