Roma Unemployment: Whose Fault Is It?

One in two Gipsies in Romania had no job and one in three had no profession – these figures, from 2007, have probably taken an even more serious dive for the worse, since the beginning of the crisis. But even those who are qualified seem to have a hard time finding labour.

There are several associations in Romania that teach the Roma willing to work a trade. The students can become waiters, cooks, hair stylists, builders, brick layers and so on. But many of the graduates are still unemployed, for various reasons.

Sometimes, employers will simply avoid hiring a Roma worker, according to Roma officials. Managers will invoke their lack of qualiffication or experience or just tell them that the vacancy has just been filled by someone else. There are, also, times when the Roma and the managers don’t get along and the former will just quit.

None the less, politicians are all over the Roma with reproaches to their alleged lack of apetite for work. The Romanian President, Traian Băsescu, has recently told the Roma to stop begging and to find jobs. And even Roma MP’s, like Mădălin Voice, have voiced opinions according to which the Gipsies simply refuse to work.

The truth is probably half way in-between, but the facts are blunt: the Roma have the highest rate of unemployment, a lot of them live in severe poverty and many times those who want to change their lives are refused the chance to do it the legal way.

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