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French workers in a UK firm based in France have gone on strike because their bosses only speak English

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Rad Graban  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:47
English to Slovak
+ ...
"We are French workers based in France...." Apr 22, 2011

Then you bloody shouldn't be working for (or looking for a job with) an foreign employer if you can't speak their language!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Attila Piróth  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:47
Member
English to Hungarian
+ ...
"We are French workers based in France...." Apr 22, 2011

Rad Graban wrote:

Then you bloody shouldn't be working for (or looking for a job with) an foreign employer if you can't speak their language!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Hi Rad,

According to the article, "... English-speaking bosses took over earlier this year."

In all likelihood, a great part of the workers had been recruited before. Some of them may feel rather uncomfortable using a language at work they do not master sufficiently. Would you suggest them to start packing?

Would be interesting to see what would happen in the UK if someone tried to impose another language on the workers.

Attila


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:47
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Clumsy management Apr 22, 2011

Rad Graban wrote:
Then you bloody shouldn't be working for (or looking for a job with) an foreign employer if you can't speak their language!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Probably the company was a bit clumsy to send a boss who only speaks English. I clearly understand the French workers' stance, although I am quite certain that the higher management and foremen in the company speak some English.


 

Cécile Sellier  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:47
English to French
+ ...
A matter of principle? Apr 23, 2011

Hi all,

Most of these workers probably speak some English, but I suspect this is a matter of principle to them: you're working in France, with French people, so you should speak French!

I agree with Attila - how would British workers react if they had to speak a foreign language at work, although they're in the UK?


On the other hand, being French, they will always find some reason to go on strike...
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Hi all,

Most of these workers probably speak some English, but I suspect this is a matter of principle to them: you're working in France, with French people, so you should speak French!

I agree with Attila - how would British workers react if they had to speak a foreign language at work, although they're in the UK?


On the other hand, being French, they will always find some reason to go on strike
(by the way, I'm French too!)


Have a great day

Cécile
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FarkasAndras  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:47
English to Hungarian
+ ...
The reason Apr 23, 2011

Cécile Sellier wrote:


On the other hand, being French, they will always find some reason to go on strike
(by the way, I'm French too!)


I'm glad a French person said it first.
They have interpretatio at meetings where the English boss is present, and they're getting a French-speaking boss soon anyway. I don't see what the fuss is all about, except for having a longer than usual coffe break.


 

veratek
Brazil
Local time: 05:47
French to English
+ ...
imperialism... hmm... Apr 23, 2011

FarkasAndras wrote:

Cécile Sellier wrote:

On the other hand, being French, they will always find some reason to go on strike
(by the way, I'm French too!)


I'm glad a French person said it first.
They have interpretatio at meetings where the English boss is present, and they're getting a French-speaking boss soon anyway. I don't see what the fuss is all about, except for having a longer than usual coffe break.


The article said they complained of imperialism... Not having more details, this could also be just another way that the workers are expressing their hatred of a particular nationality (of their new boss) or the fact that what they really resent is to have a boss who is not French, and, on top of it, of a nationality they dislike, maybe hate.

Multiculturalism and globalization, not in our company!

Apparently the company isn't even French, which makes the workers' claim even more shaky. I have never heard complaints from the French, for example, when their companies establish themselves in China, and send over their French CEOs who do not speak Chinese, that this is horrible language imperialism.

Typical.


 

Sandra Mouton  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:47
Member (2008)
English to French
+ ...
Ha, those French! Apr 23, 2011

Terrible really!
They are always on strike (the article said there hadn't been any industrial action in the company for twenty years, but don't let the facts stop you). They spend their days having coffee breaks. You'll see they have been stuffing their faces with baguette and camembert (unpasteurised, for goodness sake!).
Anyway, they never work, they are lazy, disgusting, frog-eating labour union-lovers, and on top of all that, they insist to speak their own language in the privacy
... See more
Terrible really!
They are always on strike (the article said there hadn't been any industrial action in the company for twenty years, but don't let the facts stop you). They spend their days having coffee breaks. You'll see they have been stuffing their faces with baguette and camembert (unpasteurised, for goodness sake!).
Anyway, they never work, they are lazy, disgusting, frog-eating labour union-lovers, and on top of all that, they insist to speak their own language in the privacy of their own country! My, my, next thing you know, they'll want their bosses to refrain from being imperialist English-only-Rule-Britannia twats. They're all communists, you know, these French people, with their 1789 Révolution Française. They don't like business, they don't like work, they don't like effort. No wonder they are such a poor country with a GDP the size of a peanut.
What? You are telling me they are the fifth biggest economy in the world? Bigger than the UK? How do they do it? Must be all the camembert. It's unnatural, I am telling you.
Well, this French worker has to go back to work because, you know, the next walk-out won't organise itself.
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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:47
Member (2004)
English to Italian
. Apr 23, 2011

double post!

[Edited at 2011-04-23 12:17 GMT]


 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:47
Member (2004)
English to Italian
ah, ah... Apr 23, 2011

replace some of your items with pasta and pizza and you have the Italians...


Sandra Mouton wrote:

Terrible really!
They are always on strike (the article said there hadn't been any industrial action in the company for twenty years, but don't let the facts stop you). They spend their days having coffee breaks. You'll see they have been stuffing their faces with baguette and camembert (unpasteurised, for goodness sake!).
Anyway, they never work, they are lazy, disgusting, frog-eating labour union-lovers, and on top of all that, they insist to speak their own language in the privacy of their own country! My, my, next thing you know, they'll want their bosses to refrain from being imperialist English-only-Rule-Britannia twats. They're all communists, you know, these French people, with their 1789 Révolution Française. They don't like business, they don't like work, they don't like effort. No wonder they are such a poor country with a GDP the size of a peanut.
What? You are telling me they are the fifth biggest economy in the world? Bigger than the UK? How do they do it? Must be all the camembert. It's unnatural, I am telling you.
Well, this French worker has to go back to work because, you know, the next walk-out won't organise itself.


 

Roy OConnor (X)
Local time: 10:47
German to English
Well it is a bit daft... Apr 23, 2011

...sending someone who can't communicate in French. Maybe it reflects the Brit idea towards foreign languages (as far as I know, no foreign lanugage qualification now needed for university entry).

 

Kirsten Bodart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:47
Dutch to English
+ ...
Well, I can understand them, really... Apr 23, 2011

Having worked myself for some English speaking bosses who did not speak one other language, I have experience that it is more of a problem than you see on the surface.

Firstly they will not be in the know of everything that goes on, because... they haven't heard what is going on unless someone has explained it to them. Consequently, they will communicate amongst themselves, producing their own thoughts which are apart from everything else, like an expat community really, and in the
... See more
Having worked myself for some English speaking bosses who did not speak one other language, I have experience that it is more of a problem than you see on the surface.

Firstly they will not be in the know of everything that goes on, because... they haven't heard what is going on unless someone has explained it to them. Consequently, they will communicate amongst themselves, producing their own thoughts which are apart from everything else, like an expat community really, and in the worst case totally beside the point. If they are real twats (sorry), they will also think that they know best despite the fact that they know nothing really. I have first-hand experience of this kind.

Secondly they will get paranoid about what people are saying about them. Very annoying. This is only for people with little self-confidence, though. First-hand experience of this kind too unfortunately.

Thirdly, they will not be able to deal with absolutely everything, certainly not with clients, because they do not speak the language. Consequently, they will have to give guidance, but through an interpreter. The latter not really worth the name, because it is probably someone picked from the office who speaks the language a bit better than the rest (at best). Or in the worst case, nobody at all. They will just presume that everyone knows English. Nothing more annoying. First-hand experience as well.

Fourthly, they will not be able to deal appropriately with management issues as they are not part of the culture. So they will manage the English way in this case, and that with French workers, who are used to a somewhat different approach. They will not understand for the life of them, that their approach may be incompatible with what their employees expect. How can they 'manage' them?

And fifthly, the employee feels from the start that he is worth less than his manager. His manager namely did not even take the time and effort to learn his language (I have been in this position too). How does that give a good first impression? how does this evoke the respect a manager should have for his employee, if only because the manager only shines due to his employee, not due to himself? a manager namely only manages people. If he does not manage well, maybe due to language problems, his team will not attain the results that are required. Where is he then?

So, actually, the company had better not employed anyone and sought someone who met the requirements from the start. The team would have managed themselves for a short time.

In this particular case, it is really a bit weird. They could have asked a director from another factory to take care of business.
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veratek
Brazil
Local time: 05:47
French to English
+ ...
And English, of all languages... Apr 23, 2011

Roy OConnor wrote:

...sending someone who can't communicate in French. Maybe it reflects the Brit idea towards foreign languages (as far as I know, no foreign lanugage qualification now needed for university entry).



I mean if only it had been Swahili or Basque or Hungarian, but no, the workers were asked to know a bit of English to communicate with their new boss.

That's really pushing it.


 

Karine Leroux  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:47
French to English
+ ...
Clichés are for narrow-minded people Apr 23, 2011

I agree that if you go and live in a country, you should have a basic conversation level in the local language. People will always appreciate your efforts, however laborious. As translators, we all speak more than one language, so we all know that. It'd be interesting to know whether the company pays for French lessons for their British managers, though. Also, the British are the first to say that they are rubbish or lazy at languages because everyone else seems to speak English, so they don't f... See more
I agree that if you go and live in a country, you should have a basic conversation level in the local language. People will always appreciate your efforts, however laborious. As translators, we all speak more than one language, so we all know that. It'd be interesting to know whether the company pays for French lessons for their British managers, though. Also, the British are the first to say that they are rubbish or lazy at languages because everyone else seems to speak English, so they don't feel the need to make the effort.

Maybe one of the clichés about the French is that they often go on strike, and I won't argue with that, but as translators, we all know that no culture is perfect, that each comes with some good and some bad, so I am somewhat disappointed by some of the radical views expressed above.

So I don't think anyone wins here.

[Edited at 2011-04-23 20:55 GMT]
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Oliver Simoes (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:47
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Stereotypes are not the answer... Apr 23, 2011

This is the most unproductive and culturally-insenstive discussion I've come across on ProZ.com. To put it briefly, a total waste of my time. Racial/cultural stereotypes abound in the world out there and there's no need for us to reinforce them here even more. I don't believe in stereotypes and I soon lose my faith in those who make them their creed. It's very dangerous when ones adopts a WE versus THEY mentality. In extreme cases this has lead to racial discrimination, ethnic cleasing and genoc... See more
This is the most unproductive and culturally-insenstive discussion I've come across on ProZ.com. To put it briefly, a total waste of my time. Racial/cultural stereotypes abound in the world out there and there's no need for us to reinforce them here even more. I don't believe in stereotypes and I soon lose my faith in those who make them their creed. It's very dangerous when ones adopts a WE versus THEY mentality. In extreme cases this has lead to racial discrimination, ethnic cleasing and genocides of all sorts. The we-versus-them attitude blinds our rational mind. It is fruitless in all counts and helps nothing in terms of bridging different cultures, something translators could take as a noble goal to pursue!Collapse


 

Alex Lago  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:47
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sounds typical to me Apr 23, 2011

My wife is an English teacher one of her biggest clients is an English company here in Spain, all the staff have to learn English because the bosses don't speak Spanish and as all management meetings are in English either you speak English or you are stuck. And this is a big company, in excess of 300 employees just in this one office. Sounds ridiculous but its true.

I'm sorry, I'll be the first person to say the more languages you speak the better, so all these employees are getting s
... See more
My wife is an English teacher one of her biggest clients is an English company here in Spain, all the staff have to learn English because the bosses don't speak Spanish and as all management meetings are in English either you speak English or you are stuck. And this is a big company, in excess of 300 employees just in this one office. Sounds ridiculous but its true.

I'm sorry, I'll be the first person to say the more languages you speak the better, so all these employees are getting something out of this, but come on it would be a lot cheaper to teach the bosses Spanish.

Also lets not forget showing some respect for the country and the people, after all if you are working and living in a country the least you can do is to learn to speak the language , but nooooooo everyone else is expected to speak English.

Lets face it, it might be a cliche, but English speaking people aren't exactly famous for their grasp of other languages.
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French workers in a UK firm based in France have gone on strike because their bosses only speak English

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