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Bus Company Denies Ban On Non-English Languages

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, April 17 NZPA - A Wellington bus company has denied banning the use of languages other than English in the workplace.

The issue was raised with Mana Coach Services management by Tramways Union Secretary Kevin O'Sullivan, who said staff were not comfortable with a rule requiring them to always speak English.

He said a company handbook had a clause requiring all staff to communicate using English when writing reports, in general conversation in the depot and in the drivers' room.

However, Mana's chief executive Geoff Norman denied the company had banned the use of other languages in the workplace.

"That was a claim made a couple of weeks ago by Kevin O'Sullivan where he claimed that we had banned the use of other languages," he told NZPA tonight.

"I want to make it clear that we do not ban the use of other languages in the workplace."

Asked if the company encouraged staff to speak English, Mr Norman said he had already made his point clear.

He said a letter responding to points raised by the union was sent to both the union and also the Human Rights Commission.

There had been no reply from the commission, but any instruction it did receive would be respected, he said.

Mr O'Sullivan said the letter from Mana accepted the clause was in the handbook and that it was going to stay there.

He said tonight he had recently been contacted by a representative from the commission, who wanted to get both parties together to discuss the issue.

Associate Social Development and Employment Minister Tariana Turia condemned the alleged ban today.

Mrs Turia said the rule was a kick in the face for Polynesian and Maori workers.

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