MP calls on shop to drop anti-Welsh language badge policy

The Original Factory Shop Pwllheli

An MP has called on a Pwllheli shop to allow staff members to wear badges showing that they speak Welsh.

The Original Factory Shop in Pwllheli have refused to allow staff members to wear badges showing that they speak Welsh because they “aren’t necessary”.

This is the second time the store has been hit by complaints after a customer claimed in August that she was asked to leave the store for addressing a member of staff in Welsh.

Liz Saville Roberts, the MP for the constituency of Dwyfor Meirionnydd where the store is located, said that the Original Factory Shop should drop the ban.

“It is reasonable to expect large companies who chose to set up shop in a predominantly Welsh-speaking area to make it as easy as possible for both customers and staff to use the language as they so wish,” she said.

“Businesses should be encouraging and supporting their staff to use the Welsh language at work whilst at the same time promoting the availability of Welsh-speaking staff members.’

“This is what good customer care is all about and I would encourage the Factory Shop to adopt such an approach if they are serious about respecting the rights of Welsh speakers.”

Pwllheli town councillor Elfed Gruffydd said he visited the shop last week and asked if Welsh-speaking staff would like badges to show that they speak the language.

Cllr Gruffydd said the store manager accepted his offer for staff to wear the badges but, when he returned with them to the shop, he says he was told that the head office in Burnley in Lancashire had refused to allow staff to wear them.

The ex-headmaster told the Daily Post: “I went to the shop to ask what the shop was like after the previous event.

“I had a chat with the manager and told her about the small badges and asked if they would be pleased to receive them, as two-thirds of the shop’s staff speak Welsh.

“The answer I got was that the company refused to allow staff to wear the badges.

“I am very disappointed with their attitude.”

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Chris WilliamsRhosdduTheresa GreenSharon WilliamsGaynor Recent comment authors
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Theresa Green
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Theresa Green

I was born in Wales and I reside in Wales. The constant pushing of the language is the bane of my life.
But, in this case where a large number of customers speak Welsh, perhaps some allowance ought to be made. It really is their native language unlike in most other parts of Wales.

Penderyn
Guest
Penderyn

“The bane of my life” ……. is a revival of a language that suffered colonialism and imperialism really the only bane of your life? What a marvellously nice sheltered life you must lead!

Annwyn Lewis
Guest
Annwyn Lewis

Loving your oppressor and taking on their characteristics is a form of Stockholm syndrome and it affects many in this country of ours.

Theresa Green
Guest
Theresa Green

Did I say “only”? The constant pushing, passing laws designed to push, terms like “suffering, colonialism and imperialism” are signs of extremism which I associate with those responsible for trying to keep an all but dead language alive by artificial means. If it was worth saving, it would save on its own merits. Perhaps it is thou that should get a life and get concerned with issues that really matter, not some historical idealism.

Rhosddu
Guest
Rhosddu

If you’re able to explain to readers of this article in what way the argument that Cymru is a victim of colonialism is mistaken, I’m certain they would be very interested to hear it. Surely you can see that to challenge this unacceptable situation is not, by any stretch of the imagination, extremism. As for Cymraeg, despite the overwhelming support for it from both the Welsh-speaking and anglophone communities in this country, it would not survive for many more generations as a community vernacular without policy and resources because it is under daily siege from mainstream English-language media, which, incidentally,… Read more »

Penderyn
Guest
Penderyn

Welsh is the language that gives us the word Britain and British…. ignorance about basics is not an achievement to celebrate

Gammon? No thank you
Guest
Gammon? No thank you

It’s the native language of all parts of Wales you plac! I live in the south (please be aware that the ‘uk’ is not a country) and there are lots of shops cafe and services that operate billinually between Welsh and english; the language of Wales isn’t being pushed it’s being taught as it should be and as it should be in every country Spanish in Spain, French in France etc! English is the language of England, Welsh is the language of Wales…and if you small little brain can’t comprehend the fact that Welsh is the language of Wales [to… Read more »

Jackie
Guest
Jackie

You might want to check your facts if your stating the ‘uk’ is not a country
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom

John Parry
Guest
John Parry

The Welsh language is the native language of all Welsh people.You might speak English ,but if you are Welsh its not your NATIVE language.

Chris Williams
Guest
Chris Williams

You are an enemy of this country and typical of colonists who seek to extinguish a rich culture that is insignificant to you due to your selfish attitude.

Penderyn
Guest
Penderyn

Why is this colonialism tolerated?

Jenny
Guest
Jenny

The badges are really helpful for people like me who are trying to learn Welsh. Having once had an aggressive reaction from someone who didnt speak Welsh it’s nice if someone’s wearing a badge so I know I’m not going to get shouted at!

Rhosddu
Guest
Rhosddu

Yes, and learners in the class I attend are encouraged by our tutor to wear them, as I’m sure all tutors do. What I don’t understand is how something so non-threatening but important and which is accepted practice throughout Cymru (the wearing of such a badge) has been passed to this shop’s head office in Burnley for ‘approval’. It has to be the shop manager who contacted them. What is his problem? And what’s it got to do with the bloke in Burnley?

Tirion
Guest
Tirion

Shouldn’t the Welsh language commissioner use their powers to deal with this interference to use of the language?

Sibrydionmawr
Guest
Sibrydionmawr

What powers? After a long and exhaustive investigation the worst that the Commissioner can impose is a £5000 fine. Personally I see it up there with much else of the equalities laws, therefore the penalties should be similar. However, bad as the attitude of the Factory Shop’s head office, we don’t get much better from the politician charged with safeguarding and promoting the Welsh language. Not so long ago they were pursuing policy plans that would have represented a step backwards, even now their support for Welsh is no more than lukewarm. So no surprises really that we have to… Read more »

Chris Williams
Guest
Chris Williams

Exactly. What use is a Commissioner with no powers or who ignores these transgressions? Why do we have to tolerate these businesses, attitudes? We have suffered oppression for far too long. The only way forward is Independence. The rest of the UK has ignored our continued slide down the economic scale and Westminster will do its best to keep us there.

Tirion
Guest
Tirion

The Welsh language commissioner needs to get involved and use their powers to investigate interference of use of the Welsh language

Annwyn Lewis
Guest
Annwyn Lewis

Not only should you be disappointed but you should point out that it is discrimination and it is illegal since Welsh has equal status BY LAW, which we need to insist on enforcing and fining those that refuse to comply with that law. We have a language act that is not worth the paper that it is written on if it can be ignored. We fought hard to get that act and we must make its enforcement rigorous..

Steve
Guest

While I agree in principle, the not allowing of badges is only discrimination if they allow badges for other languages besides Welsh. If the policy is simply one of “no badges” then it’s not discrimination. The company’s response is laughable though. The idea that badges aren’t necessary because non-Welsh speaking staff have cheat sheets of set phrases is ridiculous!

Liz Fox-Tucker
Guest
Liz Fox-Tucker

I live on the borders and am learning Welsh. I love these badges, as it gives me confidence to use the language. Wherever in Wales you are I believe every support and encouragement should be given to speak the language of …the country!

Huw Davies
Guest
Huw Davies

Prosecute and make an example of the company. But there again the feeble spineless people in government won’t act because there might be a threat to jobs and business considerations are always paramount. Can our leaders become even more yellow without signing up for the LimpDems ?

Rhosddu
Guest
Rhosddu

Bobol bach! Do we have to go through all this again with that bloody shop? LIz Saville Roberts is being absurdly polite in response to what is beyond question an insult to ALL Welsh people (including you, Theresa Green). I like LSR, but I’m frankly angry at such an insipid response, couched almost as a polite request, to the edict of some racist bigot in Burnley, when what’s required is a rigorous response backed up by law, i.e. zero tolerance.

Gaynor
Guest
Gaynor

Boycott the business

Sharon Williams
Guest
Sharon Williams

Ai y rheolwraig ynteu’r cwmni sy’n atal go iawn? Byddai’n ddifyr clywed ymateb gan y cwmni yn uniongyrchol.