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Czech janitorial services owner says Romani employees sometimes outperform "White" ones

3.2.2022 7:26
Entrepreneur Martin Fajner (left) (2022). (PHOTO:  ROMEA TV)
Entrepreneur Martin Fajner (left) (2022). (PHOTO: ROMEA TV)

He's in a business involving labor that most people in the Czech Republic don't want to perform - janitorial work. He is successful. 

His company's clients include Metrostav, Toyota and CzechInvest. What is it like to do business in the town of Most, the reputation of which is shrouded in prejudice, and to employ Romani staff? 

"I know everybody in our company, everyone comes in with their own story," says owner Martin Fajner in a recent interview for ROMEA TV. "That goes for the Roma, too."

"They live in a completely different world, one that others can't even imagine," Fajner describes. "I've never experienced any of the things they sometimes tell me about."

"Unfortunately, they have, though," says the entrepreneur. His own story is quite simple. 

Fajner and his business partner did not personally enjoy performing janitorial work in apartment buildings once a month, so they set up a company that offered cleaning as a service. After partnering with the Krušnohor housing cooperative, the company has grown and today has around 70 stable employees and co-workers who work in several cities around the country. 

The growth has involved both negatives and positives. Graffiti featuring the company's logo has appeared all over Most (the firm had nothing to do with this development) and several other hateful attacks against them have been perpetrated through social media. 

This is partly because the company employs Romani people, including in senior positions, and materials promoting their services also feature images of Romani people. "I would be sorry not to put that person in our promotional material," Fajner says. 

"What I see is how that person just gets the job done," he explains. "Sometimes a Romani man, when he is incorporated into the team, works twice as well as a 'White' one, I might say."

In the interview, Fajner also gives advice on how to start a similar company and what a business should be based on if it begins in a small town with high unemployment. His company made it into the regional finals of the "Firm of the Year" survey in 2020.

bng, th, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Discrimination, Employment, Most, podnikatel



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