Sunday, March 14, 2010

"No English Workers Have Been Involved In Making These Asda Sausages"

British workers have been turned away from jobs in a local factory – for not speaking Polish. Cooked meat manufacturer Forza AW effectively barred anyone but Poles for applying for jobs on its production line in East Anglia by insisting all staff speak the language fluently. The company claimed it was necessary as all health and safety training was conducted in Polish.

But Forza – a major supplier of Asda supermarkets – was last night accused of anti-British discrimination because of the adverts.

Forza’s advert was sent out via email by East Anglia-based employment agency OSR Recruitment earlier this month.

Headed ‘Immediate factory work available!!!!’ it continued: ‘If you are available or have any friends available, work is starting tomorrow for induction training.

‘Ongoing factory work (meat production) for 4-5 months, shifts are 7am-5pm or 9am-7pm.

‘Transport provided. Applicants must speak Polish. Please call asap!!!!!!’

The advert was signed Katrina Massingham, the company’s ‘industrial team leader’ and it was dispatched to hundreds of potential applicants on the firm’s books.

But wait ! It might just be all an unfortunate error !

A reporter listened in as the 31-year-old man called OSR to ask about the jobs last Tuesday. The first question he was asked was: ‘Are you Polish?’ When he said no, but could speak the language ‘a little’, he was told: ‘Actually, you have to be fluent because the health and safety training is all done in Polish.’ By Friday, however, after The Mail on Sunday rang again several times and got the same response, the company appeared to have second thoughts about the wisdom of the advert.

An OSR employee gave a different version to a Polish-speaking reporter saying: ‘Actually, you don’t have to be Polish, but it helps.’

When another reporter posed as an English applicant, Ms Massingham told him that all the jobs had been filled but that the language requirement was ‘not too important now’.

She added: ‘For some reason the training was in Polish but we’re trying to get them to change it, because it’s a bit silly, really’.

Yesterday, Mr Max Hilliard claimed the advert’s wording was a mistake and due to a ‘breakdown in communications’ between his firm and OSR Recruitment. He said he was unaware of the ‘Must speak Polish’ clause until The Mail on Sunday alerted him to it.

‘In normal circumstances, this ad would have been vetted and the error removed,’ said the 51-year-old, who is Forza’s chief executive and principal shareholder, owning 60 per cent of the company.

‘We employ many English workers as well as Poles and Lithuanians, though I can’t give you exact figures ..."

Phew. Almost thought for a moment there was something to be worried about.