Sports Direct is Under Fire for Telling Welsh Staff They're Only Allowed to Speak English

By Tom Pritchard on at

Wales is a strange place to be if you're English. Damn near everyone speaks English, so there are no language barriers to worry about, but everything is bilingual and there are a decent number of people who prefer to speak the native language. Well those people are getting rather angry at Sports Direct, which has demanded all is Welsh-speaking staff speak English.

The sports-chain sparked anger when a sign went up in its Bangor store, ordering staff members to speak English. According to The Telegraph the company denied this was an official directive, until later admitting it was when the notice appeared in other Welsh stores.

Sports Direct in Bangor is banning the Welsh language. RT in order to embarrass

The Welsh Language Commission has launched an investigation into the policy, which is being described as "discriminatory and offensive". The oddly amusing part is that this policy says staff members can speak other languages outside of work hours - as if they could ever do anything to stop them.

Welsh is one of two official languages in Wales, and according to the 2011 census, 19 per cent of people living in Wales are able to speak Welsh, which is around 562,000 people. However, the same census mentions that 64.5% of Bangor's population are Welsh speakers.

Sports Direct released the following statement to The Telegraph:

"Sports Direct issued a notice to all stores in the UK on our language policy. It was intended to ensure that all staff who attended briefings on health and safety and other important issues fully understood the content of these communications.

English is the most common language used by our multi-lingual staff and, therefore, the most likely to be understood by all. This notice was not intended to restrict the use of the Welsh language, or prohibit staff from communicating in their local language outside these briefings or with customers."

The spokesman added that the company will be:

"Reviewing the wording of the notice to ensure this is made clearer and re-issuing an updated notice. We apologise for any misunderstanding or upset this notice has caused."

Somehow I don't think "misunderstanding" is the right word to use. [The Telegraph]

Image: EDDIE/Flickr

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