[Lgpolicy-list] [lg policy] UK: Rhun backs Lidl over Welsh language U-turn

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Sat Nov 15 14:50:03 UTC 2014

 Rhun backs Lidl over Welsh language U-turn

 *Published date: 14 November 2014 | *
* Published by: Tomos Hughes*
 Read more articles by Tomos Hughes

Rhun ap Iorwerth AM.

*ANGLESEY AM Rhun ap Iorwerth has backed supermarket chain Lidl for
clarifying its stance supporting the Welsh language. *
Last week, the supermarket was widely criticised for stating that staff
could speak English unless there was a “legitimate business reason” to do
otherwise - a stance labelled “clearly absurd” by Mr ap Iorwerth.

The statement was released following an incident in Scotland where two
spoke Polish to each other.

However, since then, the company
has clarified its policy regarding the Welsh language, in response to a
letter sent by Welsh Language Commissioner Meri Hughes.

In the letter, Lidl managing director, Ronny Gottsclich says: “As a
business operating internationally and in the UK, Lidl UK absolutely
respects and embraces
the Welsh language and we would never dream of banning its use by our

“I would like to apologise for any confusion caused by the statements
issued over the weekend, and can only reassure you that we at Lidl UK
absolutely respect the official status of the Welsh Language and the Welsh
Language (Wales) Measure 2011.

“Over the coming weeks we will be including the official Welsh language
symbol on store entrances across Wales, and providing all our
Welsh-speaking store staff with “Working Welsh” (Iaith Gwaith) badges, to
let customers know that they can speak Welsh to these members of staff
should they wish to do so.”

Rhun ap Iorwerth said: “I am pleased that Lidl have seen sense and reviewed
the comments that were made regarding their language policy, confirming in
their response to the Welsh Language Commissioner that the ‘embrace the
Welsh language.

“To suggest that Welsh speaking staff should not speak Welsh to each other
or to the local population in an area with a majority of Welsh speakers –
around 80% in the town of Llangefni where one Lidl is based - is clearly

“One employee
told me he was once asked to not speak Welsh, and any examples of language
discrimination must become a thing of the past.”

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