Sunday, 25 Jul 2021

No Welsh, no job! Backlash as employment rules bar candidates who only speak English

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Tasks involving speaking Welsh include answering the phone bilingually and using simple words. The news comes after the Welsh government announced the Cymraeg 2050 plan, which aims to increase the number of Welsh speakers to one million. As part of the plan, candidates applying for a job with the Welsh Government will have to demonstrate they can speak the language upon recruitment or within the first six months.

This means job adverts for civil servants will state speaking Welsh is “desirable, essential or to be taught on the post”.

But the move has drawn some criticism.

A Welsh Conservative spokesman told the BBC: “The party is committed to delivering one million Welsh speakers, but at a time of national recovery, the Welsh government’s priority should be recruiting the best person for the job.

“Currently a large majority of people in Wales – nearly three-quarters – do not speak Welsh, but that shouldn’t prohibit them from working in the civil service and contributing to Welsh public life.”

The Welsh Government said: “Everyone has the potential to be a Welsh speaker and this strategy does not conflict with our commitment to being open, inclusive and diverse.

“Developing a bilingual workforce does not mean (or imply) those skills being a universal pre-requisite for joining the Welsh government.”

They added they will invest in staff and provide opportunities to learn Welsh.

The government also noted time will be needed for the transition to take place.

The Conservatives said the Government needs to make sure that they are recruiting “the best person for the job”.

Many people have taken to Twitter to express their dissatisfaction.

One user wrote: “This is a bit silly. It’s bad enough that they waste time in schools learning a dead language instead of something useful like German, Spanish, Chinese, but putting otherwise talented people off applying for civil service jobs is ridiculous.”

Another added: “Wales has been setting up this nationalist scheme for decades now, don’t be surprised if they push for independence vote within 20 years, and they will win the vote easy.”

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A third wrote: “Sounds like discrimination.”

However, some people welcomed the news.

One Twitter user wrote: “For all the people crying about this, have they never heard of a bilingual country? French is a requirement for most government jobs in Canada.”

Another added: “Looking at the description this covers everyone who has been through the Welsh education system and would take someone moving into the country a mornings tuition to achieve. Shameful of the Tories to attack it and undermine their Welsh-speaking membership.”

Statistics show that there has been a 44% increase in requests from Welsh government staff for Welsh lessons between 2020 and 2021.

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