Maxima bringing in employees from Latvia, Ida-Viru County due to labor shortage

Maxima supermarket in Tallinn. (Siim Lõvi/ERR)
10/18/2016 10:04 PM
Category: Business

Facing difficulties, much like many other retail chains, in finding enough locals to staff the stressful, low-paying jobs it offers, Maxima has resorted to transporting employees in to their Tallinn and Harju County locations from as far away as Northeastern Estonia's Ida-Viru County and even Latvia in order to fill its job vacancies and meet the needs of its stores.

While Maxima is also among those employers seeking labor from the Unemployment Inusrance Fund, for some time now they have solved their labor problems by resorting to extreme measures which have spread from other sectors to retail — namely, as Tallinn and Harju County face the largest labor shortages, Maxima has begun transporting employees in from Ida-Viru County and even Latvia. At the same time, the retail chain has begun installing self-checkouts in more and more of their locations and already offers online shopping in the Tallinn region.

"There is a shortage of staff; we are constantly seeking [employees]," admitted Maxima communications director Katja Ljubobratets. "The biggest shortage is in cashiers."

Thus the unemployed in Ida-Viru County, where unemployment remains highest in the country, are offered the opportunity to work in Tallinn, where Maxima is most in need of additional staff.

"We arrange transport to and from Tallinn; we also offer accommodation and they have the opportunity to eat at the employer's expense at work," Ljubobratets highlighted. "Work is in shifts: four days of work and four days off."

160 Ida-Viru residents travel back and forth for work this way.

While working at a retail location requires knowledge of Estonian, the same is not as strictly necessary when working in Maxima's logistics center, where much of the job consists of the picking and assembly of orders for stores and there is no direct contact with clients. For such work, additional labor is already being brought in from Latvia.

"We have 50 people come in to work from Latvia," Ljubobratets confirmed.

A total of nearly 400 people work at the major retail chain's logitics center.

Maxima's communications director confirmed that the official language of employment remains Estonia, however English or Russian are used as needed as well.

Maxima employs nearly 4,400 people in Estonia.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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