Human language

Rights campaigners slam New World store’s ‘draconian’ rule requiring staff to speak English

The line first appeared in a new owner’s manual. He states that: “While New World Melody’s welcomes our diverse culture and allows all languages ​​to be spoken, we require that all discussions in the workshop be conducted in English.

“This is due to instances where staff and customers hear their names mentioned and know the staff is speaking to them in their native language.”

The guidelines also encouraged all discussions in the staff room to be conducted in English for the same reason – for the staff’s own protection.

“Well, that’s just rubbish. The thing is, they’re using a tool because of their position of power to prevent employees from using their own language to talk among co-workers,” Bott said. “That is fundamentally wrong.”

Bott said it was discrimination and could even violate human rights law, which the Race Relations Commissioner agrees with.

“It’s a bit of a discriminatory policy, it’s against the law to treat people less than,” race relations commissioner Meng Foon said.

The Human Rights Act protects New Zealanders from unlawful discrimination.

An employee first sent the manual to First Union, which represents supermarket staff.

“I was absolutely appalled. I was disgusted, I was shocked, I was outraged,” said First Union organizer Dion Martin.

Martin said he had never seen anything like it.

“English is not required to be spoken on the shop floor. We are, I know Palmerston North is, a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic company. We celebrate diversity,” Martin said.

In 2017, people were outraged when a picture emerged of a sign asking staff to only speak English at another Foodstuff store in the Bay of Plenty.

The new owner, who once owned a New World in Tauranga, referred Newshub to Foodstuffs, the co-op behind brands like New World and Pak’nSave.

In response to the New World Broadway playbook section, Foodstuffs said in a statement that the intention was to make everyone feel included.

“The intent of this request was to ensure that customers and team members feel included in all interactions on the shop floor and in team areas like the staff room,” said one. Foodstuffs spokesperson.

“Following feedback from the store team on the handbook, the intent of the employee handbook section was clarified in a newsletter which also stated that the section was no longer applicable and would not be included in future copies of the manual.”

He also said that all members of the co-op have since been informed that the requirement to speak only in English is not appropriate.