Czech labor offices record hundreds of cases of attacks on Ukrainians who draw benefits

Ukrainian refugees walk along vehicles lining-up to cross the border from Ukraine into Moldova, at Mayaky-Udobne crossing border point near Mayaky-Udobne, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
By Karolina Klaskova
3 Min Read

Some refugees from Ukraine who come to the labor office face insults from regular clients who allegedly do not like the fact that refugees are entitled to financial aid from the state. Czech police officers often have to step in and mediate. At other times, the police officers control Ukrainians who jump the line.

Czech labor offices pay humanitarian benefits to newcomers from Ukraine, and such offices have already accepted 111,000 applications.

Spokeswoman Kateřina Beránková responded to the widespread misinformation that the authorities were refusing Czech clients so that they could focus only on Ukrainian ones.

“The Labor Office of the Czech Republic strongly opposes claims circulating on some social networks. Their authors say that based on the government’s decision, the office has stopped accepting applications due to refugees from Ukraine. Similar statements are not true. The Labor Office provides all services to clients, both in non-insurance social benefits and ​​employment,” Beránková recently stated.

In addition to social networks, attacks also occur directly at branches. Refugees from Ukraine are being targeted there by the insults of some other clients.

“The behavior of the minority group (Romany people) in the lines is a disgrace. They vulgarly curse the refugees and lament that they steal their work, which they still do not want to do. They complain that the Ukrainians do not have to fill in the relevant documents and anyway they get the money,” said a witness to such an attack, who accommodated a Ukrainian woman and her two children.

At the beginning of the refugee crisis, police patrols began to check the order in the branches of labor offices and their surroundings. According to the spokesperson, they had to intensify patrol and control activities at some places due to a large number of people. H

Nevertheless, police officers are dealing with a lot of clashes between the refugees themselves, who are arguing or jumping the line. Police also came to deescalate the situation when Ukrainians did not understand that the labor office was closed at a specific time.

On Monday, the Czech Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs launched an application to speed up and reduce lines for refugee benefits.

Beránková points out that such incidents are common in the office branches. According to her, hundreds of employees are attacked every year, especially those in charge of material need benefits. Most of them are verbal attacks, attempts to damage office equipment, or threats to harm the health or lives of workers and their relatives. Incidents sometimes result in criminal reporting and litigation.

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