Škoda Auto and Mayor Nwelati's zero tolerance for foreigners

Helena

Former Staff
Sep 2007
5,046
2,918
Maybe my user title will provide a clue.
#1
Since North America is apparently one of the few regions in the world (together with Brazil, Hongkong and Macau) where Škoda Auto doesn't operate, I'm not sure how many PHers may be familiar with the car brand. So if you aren't, you'll have to trust me when I tell you it's big by not only local standards. In 2017 its global sales reached more than 1.2 million units (most of them in China, Germany, the Czech Republic, the UK and Poland, in this order) and the operating profit was 1.6 billion euros. More can be found here:
ŠKODA AUTO

The headquarters of the company is in the Czech town of Mladá Boleslav.
Mladá Boleslav - Wikipedia

In the 19th century new prosperity came: the town became an important regional centre as new schools, theatres, museums, and the Laurin & Klement (today Škoda) automobile factory were founded. Since the 1990s the factory is making it one of the richest Czech towns.
For more than a century, Škoda Auto has been central to the town's prosperity. It employs over 30,000 people in total, a good portion of them in Mladá Boleslav. And, according to the latest figures released by the company, about 10% of them are foreigners, with the overwhelming majority of them from Slovakia and Poland, i.e. the most "culturally close" countries you can get around here.

Mladá Boleslav has also had the same mayor since 2006. A new election is scheduled for October and the current mayor is running again. And this guy with a typical Czech name Raduan Nwelati (his dad came from Syria) figured it would a good idea to make "zero tolerance for foreigners" his campaign slogan.

Full text on his billboards currently on display (translation mine):
"Boleslav belongs to Boleslavians. Foreigners get zero tolerance. You want to work here, obey the rules. Otherwise we don't want you here."

A stormy discussion ensued after Mayor Nwelati's team launched the campaign last week. He then said that "zero tolerance" applied to "foreigners who don't obey the rules," of course. Later on he added that it also applied to ANYONE who breaks the rule of law, not just foreigners.

Škoda Auto today sent the mayor a letter where it distances itself from his campaign and criticises his "abuse" of the company's name. I don't think he actually USES the name of the brand anywhere in the campaign but apparently Škoda feels it's "implied" because most foreign workers in the town work for them.

Their words (again, translation mine):
"In accordance with the ethical code of Škoda Auto, we consider equal opportunity and equal treatment a crucial value. We categorically reject any form of discrimination based on ethnicity or nationality, gender, religious affiliation, worldview, age, sexual orientation, skin pigmentation, political stances, social reasons or other attributes. (….) From our perspective, the chosen tone of your statements is in contradiction with our values and with the well developing cooperation between our company and Mladá Boleslav."

As of today, Mayor Nwelati says that he has not read the letter yet but he believes that he and Škoda "will see eye to eye" eventually.

I think it was mostly his name what made this story interesting to me.
 

The Man

Former Staff
Jul 2011
42,860
29,109
Toronto
#3
lol Yeah, you get that sometimes... I recall living among mom's Armenian relatives in Moscow, we were ourselves a disliked minority, yet always tried to look down and act like we were better than the Muslim migrants from Central Asia, because we were Christians and fellow Orthodox, sorta, and so some Slav Russians DO think of us a bit more highly than them haha

I was recently talking to a Russian lady here, who was back in Moscow not long ago, and she recounted how the Armenian cab driver who took her from the airport there kept on telling her never to ride in taxis with the Central Asian drivers, "They are all dirty, filthy people, you know. Smell very bad. And they are all liars and cheats, they will try to take more money from you than owe..."

haha It is what it is...
 
Likes: Madeline

Helena

Former Staff
Sep 2007
5,046
2,918
Maybe my user title will provide a clue.
#5
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