During the coronavirus pandemic, some 200,000 people, or eight percent of the employees in Serbia, lost jobs, including those who worked informally and as self-employed in February, the Fridrih Ebert Foundation's SeConS group study showed, while President Aleksandar Vucic asked who those researchers were, N1 reported on Thursday.
The research also showed that the hardest burden and highest risk were on women who made up to 86 percent of the employed "at the frontline of the infection."
The women also had more work than usual, up to 70 percent, in households.
The study, conducted on a representative sample of 1,600 people who had a job in February, showed the labourers in Serbia well adapted to working from home: some 27 percent used that option, 90 percent of whom could work without problems, while some 15 percent were less efficient.
"The two-thirds of the polled worried about health risk, 35.6 about the looming economic crisis in Serbia, 16.2 percent about the potential worsening of freedoms, strengthening of repression and the authoritarian rule," the study showed.
"For God sake, who are they... You can publish a study saying four million people are unemployed. It doesn't matter that there are no that many workers," Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic said when asked about the research. He told reporters that "we even have some 633 more employed," adding the statistics showed that some 9,000 people lost, while about 9,700 found jobs.
Almost half of the people, up to 46.2 percent, were fired because the companies stopped working, while 20.5 percent were not offered a new contract after the previous one expired.
In most cases, the workers could not organise going to work and taking care of family members and had to quit because during the state of emergency declared on March 15, there was no public transport, the kindergartens and schools were closed, and the social services for senior citizens did not work either.
Those working in private firms, in trade, catering, infrastructure, self-employed and informally employed and those with a temporary contract, suffered the worst.
Over five percent had to go on vacation, some with an agreement with the employers.
A quarter of employees worked part-time or in less number of shifts, while 5.6 percent had their wages reduced.