WORKERS at a major distribution hub in Burton have been told that they can only speak English while at work – or face disciplinary action.
Bosses at Hobbycraft, based in Centrum 100, hauled staff in for a meeting on yesterday morning after difficulties arose with a host of nationalities conversing only in their native tongue.
Staff were warned that the firm’s policy was that they should only use English during work hours.
Chris Fenlon, people director for Hobbycraft, told the Mail: “Having the ability to speak English is part of the recruitment criteria in our distribution centre.
“Therefore, we do ask that during working hours in the warehouse colleagues speak English.
“This is to create a good working environment where all colleagues can communicate effectively.”
The Mail was alerted to the situation after several members of staff got in touch after being spoken to by their bosses.
One Polish worker, who asked not to be named due to fear of repercussions, told the Mail that she thought the move was ‘silly’.
She said: “I have worked for the firm for a number of months and everything was all right until a few months ago when things started going wrong.
“Our managers forbid us from speaking to others in any language but English.
“The first few months were not that bad and, if they spotted someone using any other language, the person would basically get told off.
“But then all staff were called to the canteen to be told that we were only allowed to speak English while working and, if we do not, we will face punishment.
“I know it sounds silly but I think it is something that is important and needs raising.”