Lidl tell Polish staff: Speak English or face sack

Polish workers at a supermarket have been warned they face the sack if they don’t stop speaking their native language - even on their break.

Thursday, 6th November 2014, 9:05 am
Lidl is now an English speaking-only zone. Picture: Greg Macvean

As reported in the Fife Free Press, Lidl has made the ultimatum which also means Polish staff must converse with Polish-speaking customers in English only.

• What do you think? Is it right that Polish staff be made to speak English even on their break?

One worker, who did not want to be named, said: “I tried to explain to the manager that many customers who do not speak English correctly come to our shop just because they know there is a Polish service at the cash desk, bakery and shop floor as well.

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“The manager became irritated and told me to carry out his orders. If I am not able to accept them, I should be free to leave for home. My answer was to stay at work. I am the sole bread winner in the family and I cannot be without a salary.”

Some customers have already complained to Lidl’s head office in London and a petition has been launched.

The worker added: “I have been living in Scotland for nearly 10 years and I have never experienced any kind of discrimination.

“It is very sad to be forced to speak English to people who do not understand it and feel confused as they expect to be served in Polish.”

A Lidl spokesman said: “It is Lidl UK company policy that staff speak in English to customers at all times, irrespective of nationality.

“This is for the benefit of all of our customers as well as our staff and is clearly stipulated in the employee handbook, which each member of staff receives during their induction.

“As is industry standard, we also do require employees to follow instructions given to them from their line manager and this is also clearly outlined in an employee’s contract upon joining.”

He added: “We are very proud to be an international employer that supports a diverse workforce.”