Thomas Cook: ban on Welsh not total

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Wed Jun 13 14:12:26 UTC 2007

Welsh ban not total, says Thomas Cook Jun 12 2007

Western Mail

A LEADING travel agent yesterday denied claims it has banned staff
from speaking Welsh. Workers at a branch of Thomas Cook, in Bangor,
were reportedly told not to speak in their native language while at
work. Bosses at Thomas Cook denied they had banned the use of Welsh
entirely. However, they admitted they had asked staff to speak in
English during some meetings. A spokeswoman for the travel agent said,
"Thomas Cook can confirm that its staff have not been banned from
speaking Welsh, or any other language, in its network of UK stores.

"The company has always requested that its staff, regardless of any
geographical location, speak English to other staff members when
discussing work-related matters in the workplace, ie training and team
performance. "This is to ensure clear communication at all times as
English is the common language spoken for all its UK employees, and it
is also respectful to team members who do not speak other languages."
The travel agent said customers were welcome to speak Welsh and to
book their holidays in their own language at their stores in Wales.

The spokeswoman added, "Thomas Cook employs staff from many cultural
backgrounds, therefore appreciates its staff may want to talk with
colleagues in other languages for anything that is non
business-related, such as personal conversations.
"The company is, of course, more than happy for these conversations to
take place in any language staff wish." Welsh Assembly Education
Minister Carwyn Jones, who is responsible for Welsh language policy,
said, "It is totally unacceptable for Thomas Cook to bar staff from
speaking Welsh in the workplace. "I would like to meet Thomas Cook to
discuss their policy towards the Welsh language.

"Our long-term aim is to create a bilingual Wales, where people will
be able to speak Welsh or English when going about their daily
business." And Plaid AM for Arfon, Alun Ffred Jones, said, "It is time
that Thomas Cook realises it operates in the 21st century.
"Wales is a bilingual country; staff should have the right to speak
their language. This case underlines the need for the strengthening of
Welsh language legislation."

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