Reader feedback: USSK defends Roma work programme

Letter to the Editor, Re: Roma window dressing, Reader feedback, March 29 - April 4, Vol 10, No 10

In the last issue of The Slovak Spectator you published a letter from an anonymous reader who wondered about the fact that only 70 Roma work at USSK [US Steel Košice]. This is a misunderstanding. We have employed hundreds of Roma within the company for years. Walking around the steelworks you could meet them at different plants, but we do not keep any record of the Roma or Hungarians or Germans working for us.

If we speak about 70 Roma, they are part of a special programme that was created for the village of Velka Ida next to the steelworks, with 2,800 inhabitants and 340 unemployed people, most of whom are Roma. Compared to these figures, the number 70 is meaningful.

We began this activity more than two years ago.

If you want to compare [our employment to] the 350,000 Roma across Slovakia, it should also be noted that there are almost 60,000 companies doing business in Slovakia.

It is correct that USSK is interested in marketing, because we also want to show other companies that such a project can be successful and can be beneficial for Roma and for the company and the country as well.

What is more, today is an important day for 10 more people from Lunik IX in Košice who have started work at the USSK energy plant. This is another project that we intend to expand progressively.

Ján Bača,
Spokesman, US Steel Košice

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