Following Violent Protests In Germany, Siemens Warns Of Dangers Of Xenophobia

After a series of violent protests in Germany, the employees of Siemens are being urged to speak up by the company.

In a letter sent to its 4300 employees in the Saxony state of Germany, the global engineering company urged its employees to fight the xenophobia prevailing there at the moment and thereby uphold the reputation for tolerance of Germany.

“It is time … to stand up for tolerance and compassion and to speak out against xenophobia and discrimination,” top regional executives wrote in the letter, which was also given to the media.

Those principals were critical for its global business the executives said.

“Economic success as the basis of our prosperity in Germany and Saxony depends not least on the reputation we have among our customers around the world,” they added.

This measure by Siemens is something which is very rate in the corporate world where companies encourage corporate activism and very few European companies have under taken such steps ever. Siemens employs more 375,000 people globally and there are about 120,000 employees of the company in Germany.

Following the alleged killing of a German-Cuban man by two suspects who are Iraqi and Syrian in origin, there has bene a series of violent protests in Germany against the incident as well as counter demonstration. The incident took place in the eastern city of Chemnitz

While some of the protestors were seen shouting racist slogans such as “Germany for the Germans”, there were many other who were seen giving the outlawed Nazi salute.

According to the Siemens executives, fairness, tolerance, respect and dialogue are amongst the most important for its business globally and hence they rejected the aims of the protests, said the Siemens managers.

“The image the world has of Saxony these days is that of hatred and hate, xenophobia and public violation of law,” the letter said. “This is not only disturbing. It makes us angry.”

A German lawmaker was denounced earlier this year by Joe Kaeser, the chief executive of Siemens, and said that German prosperity would be harmed by their nationalism.

“It’s a complicated matter,” Kaeser told the Financial Times in May. “I’m there to represent the company and be accountable to the shareholders; on the other hand, if people turn their head away . . . Well, we had that time in Germany. Nobody spoke up. Then it was too late.”

The protests have been condemned by other German companies also. The events in Chemnitz were “unacceptable from the point of view of the German economy”, said the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The reputation of Germany is damaged by xenophobia and nationalism, said Eric Schweitzer, president of the business lobby.

“German companies are active around the world and therefore rely … on being welcome in other countries of the world,” he said in a statement.

(Adapted from Money.CNN.com)

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