Welsh language row erupts over Pembrokeshire County Council job website
5:00pm Friday 17th January 2014 in News
Pembrokeshire County Council has changed the wording it uses on a social worker recruitment website after a link to a job advert sparked a Welsh language row.
The website had said that the Welsh language does not feature prominently in social care and said it would support anyone who wanted to learn “a few phrases in Welsh” as a courtesy.
It read: “In Pembrokeshire, the Welsh language does not feature prominently in the delivery of social care.
“Generally, Welsh is only spoken as a first language in some parts of north Pembrokeshire.”
It added: “We support social work, and other employees who would like to learn the language – if only to master a few phrases in welsh as a courtesy to service users.”
Cymdeithas yr Iaith (the Welsh Language Society) criticised the wording as “factually wrong and an insult to the people of Pembrokeshire and the Welsh language.”
Gwyndaf Tomos, a member of Cymdeithas yr Iaith, said: "It is outrageous that the council has said such a thing. Is the council suggesting that children in the south of the county do not need proper care and support in Welsh?
“The Welsh language is not just a language for parts of the north – it's a language for the whole county. For fluent speakers, learners and everyone who wishes to live in Welsh.
" How can we take the Council seriously in anything if this is their attitude towards the Welsh language? It gives the impression that the Council considers the language to be nothing more than a matter of courtesy and that it only needs to be recognised with a few choice phrases.”
Bethan Williams, area officer Cymdeithas yr Iaith in Pembrokeshire added: "One of the main things we are calling on the council to do straight away is to ensure that new jobs where a member of staff deals with the public makes the Welsh language an essential requirement.
"There is an opportunity here for the council to show that they are taking the Welsh language seriously by removing the advertisement, making the language essential.
“The Welsh Government's strategy - " More Than Words " should offer guidance in that respect, and should say clearly that care services in Welsh are essential to ensure a quality service for everyone."
A council spokesman said: “Pembrokeshire County Council has acknowledged that the information on its Social Work recruitment website did not accurately reflect the Authority’s position.
“This has now been removed.
“The Council is committed to implementing ‘More Than Just Words’ – the strategic framework for the Welsh language in health, social services and social care - and welcomes a dialogue from any interested party regarding how to meet the objectives set in this important document.”
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