Mouth, Meet Foot

“It is not appropriate to employ people from other cultures as they would then remain in the country. They would learn the Czech language, have children here and this would result in an ethnic problem.”

That’s the position of Czech Social Democrat chairman Jiri Paroubek, who reportedly made those comments during a visit to a employment office in Kutna Hora, CR.

Kutna Hora, you may or may not know, is home to one of Foxconn’s largest plants in Europe. The company is said to import workers from Southeast Asia for the factory, where it builds servers. Paroubek’s statements came as a clear rejection of Foxconn’s MO. (His spokesman later said what Paroubek meant was that Czechs should be have the upper hand in securing jobs in their own country. But that explanation is certainly at odds with his statements as reported.)

Nationalism is one thing — and in dour economic times can be counted on to boil over. After all, it’s easy to blame one’s troubles on others. But most people have the sense not to say such things in front of a room full of journalists.

For what it’s worth, Foxconn is a major player in Czech — the nation’s third-largest employer, according to the company itself. (It also has a site in Pardubice, where it has built more than 25 million PCs.) Alienating the company so needlessly doesn’t seem to be in the CR’s best interests.

After holding a dominant majority of the nation’s government for several years, the CSSD has been the opposition party since 2006. However, local polls have the party neck-and-neck with the ruling coalition of Civic Democrats (ODS), Christian Democrats (KDU-?SL), and the Green Party (SZ) in this year’s elections. Let’s hope the Czech citizens come to their senses and reject such blatant hostility and racism.

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About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association ( He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow