Ad says 'workers must speak Polish'
The Government's equality watchdog has said it will write to a major sliced meat manufacturer over allegations of discrimination against British job seekers after the firm advertised for workers who "must speak Polish".
Forza AW, which supplies Asda, reportedly emailed out an advert for ongoing factory work on its East Anglia production line via employment agency OSR Recruitment which read: "Applicants must speak Polish. Please call asap!!!!!!"
According to the Mail on Sunday, one British job seeker who phoned OSR to inquire about work was first asked if he was Polish and then told: "Actually, you have to be fluent because the health and safety training is all done in Polish."
Neil Kinghan, director general of the Equality and Human Rights Commission said: "Any refusal to register an applicant because of their nationality is unlawful under the Race Relations Act.
"The commission will be writing to Forza AW this week to ask it to respond to the allegations made against the company and to confirm that it will comply with the Race Relations Act and not discriminate against British, or any other workers on the grounds of their nationality."
The news comes after the EHRC published an official inquiry this weekend which showed how agency and migrant workers employed by meat and poultry firms suffer "mistreatment and exploitation".
An EHRC spokesman said: "The commission is concerned that current recruitment practices may be discriminatory in that they indirectly block British workers from getting jobs in the industry. The commission will review action taken over the next 12 months by supermarkets, processing firms and recruitment agencies, and will consider taking enforcement action if necessary."
Forza AW director Max Hilliard told the Mail on Sunday he was unaware of the "must speak Polish" clause and the advert was a mistake due to a breakdown in communications between his firm and OSR Recruitment.
He said "chaos" following a fire where the factory is normally based in Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire, meant the advert was not properly vetted.
He added: "We employ many English workers as well as Poles and Lithuanians, though I can't give you exact figures, and I assure you categorically that all our training and health and safety briefings are conducted in English, Polish or whatever the employee speaks. We would never turn down an English person for a job on the basis that they didn't speak Polish or any other language."