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English Please!

Old 27th Apr 2008, 19:46
  #1 (permalink)  
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Angry English Please!

Hi all,

I work for a "EUROPEAN" airline, and recently heard whispers that at work the only language I am supposed to use is ENGLISH. Not obeying this rule, will see the employee in question being called up and punished.

I understand in our business that, in the cabin, the company may prefer their employees speak english in front of passengers. That is their right

HOWEVER ------->

WHAT gives a company the right to insist on ENGLISH being spoken elsewhere at work (i.e briefing room / canteen before going out to the aircraft).

This is nothing short of racial intolerance, but I suspect it is more to do with paranoia, whereby management are suspicious of what is being talked about, or maybe so uneducated that they are just not capable of understanding a language other than english.

Your Comments please,

A Frustrated EUROPEAN
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Old 27th Apr 2008, 20:00
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Don't worry mate.

You can disregard that statement by your employer. (Which airline is it?) In Europe you may speak any language you would like. For all normal day-to-day communications between people there are no restrictions. The only language restrictions that an employer can dictate are all technical communications, these must be in English.
- checklist reading
- flying the airplane (set speed two five zero/ gear down/start right engine/ etc)
- AML entries must be in english
- the like.....

but small talk at FL350 about the color of the underwear you are wearing may be done in Cherokee if you like.
fox niner is online now  
Old 27th Apr 2008, 20:01
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You are obviously not German, French or British for no pilots I know from those nations would ever categorise themselves as European !
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Old 27th Apr 2008, 20:07
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FoxNiner - I agree,
but employees have been dragged into the office,
raised voices stating that UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE are they to speak any language BUT English. or otherwise face the consequence.

European, yes I am, BEAMER Spanish too....but for a European Airline to enforce such a rule is nothing short of criminal
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Old 27th Apr 2008, 20:11
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You're right; I am uneducated.

I write, speak and understand one language, sadly, though whilst on duty in Shanghai recently, I did attempt to learn Mandarin through a professional organization.

One thing I do know, mostly through experience, is that I can make a fool of myself in only one language, whereas you, given you speak many languages, are in a position to make a fool of yourself in many.

English is the international language of aviation.

Now that ICAO has mandated all professionals in critical areas of aviation be measured in and maintain a standard of English Proficiency in order to operate in their capacity as pilot, ATCO etc, you may find this to be the reason your company has mandated you speak English in all areas of the workplace.

I was recently with a company whose Ops Manual stated that 'English is to be used on the flight deck'. They were ahead of their time.

As to why ICAO mandated English Proficiency as a requirement to hold a license to operate in critical areas of aviation, it would appear to be due to the measurable fact that of all incidents and accidents we've endured as an industry, a high percentage continues to be a consequence of a breakdown in communication.

Result: English Proficiency tests for all.

Be glad it wasn't Mandarin Proficiency.
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Old 27th Apr 2008, 20:16
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I take your point 4PW
however I am not talking about communication related to work!!
English Language Prof. is a totally different subject.

instead I am talking about in the canteen for example, chatting with friends, catching up with any "scandal" at work etc etc. crazy night outs the list goes on,

and if we do want to communicate with friends, ENGLISH only, so they KNOW what we did on our crazy nites out no doubt

believe it or not, the company will NOT allow us speaking in our native language...
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Old 27th Apr 2008, 20:24
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they can not do that in the EU.

Sue them. (probably wise via your Pilot's Union)
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Old 27th Apr 2008, 20:28
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English Proficiency tests for all

Agree 100%.

Sadly ,also many native English (or Aussie or American,...) could use such a test.
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Old 27th Apr 2008, 20:32
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well i would love to see what they could do since it goes against one of the most basic civil rights of an individual...

trying to suspend the person for example.....
hmmm union ,i might give them a call

is what they are implementing illegal,
the local aviation authority i am sure wouldnt be happy with this situation...
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Old 27th Apr 2008, 20:40
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But just think about it. If you use English in the workplace other than on the aircraft, your English proficiency would be enhanced and take you well beyond the minimum for flight ops.

Rather than see it as a problem, see it as an opportunity for all in the airline to improve their English and perhaps improve their employability.
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Old 27th Apr 2008, 20:47
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Guys and Girls

to be clear this is NOT a thread about the english prof test required to fly
it is about the following
off the aircraft
at work
in the crew room / canteen
talking to colleagues in a language other than english!!!!!

I dont think anyone needs to improve their language if they are able to go through training and communicate at work. You wouldnt speak spanish at home if you are russian.
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Old 27th Apr 2008, 20:48
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When you are on a company ground; canteen, apron, changing room is still a company who owns or rents that place therefore you are to obey their regulations. "English only" is mostly to show the respect to other people not talking your native language as If you would put yourself in the middle of Rwanda and listen to Swahili, kinnda weird right?
So don't get to emotional with this,the English is the most spoken language amidst the international crews this doesn't come as a surprise.
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Old 27th Apr 2008, 20:56
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The company that you are talking about are they based in your home country?

I (Dutch) work for a British company and the company employs several of my countrymen. Whenever I am on the staff bus from the car park to the office or in the office, I will always speak English even to my countrymen. Nothing has been said by the company but I have chosen to come and work in the UK and therefore I have to adapt to them, not the other way around.

What the human rights activist etc. say I don't care. For me it is common sense and it shows some respect for my colleagues.

Last edited by CEJM; 27th Apr 2008 at 20:58. Reason: Typo
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Old 27th Apr 2008, 20:58
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I take your point SKYDROL however,
If i shop in LIDL do you expect me to speak GERMAN
ich bin auslander und spreche nicht...."" Im showing off, but seriously

ask any solicitor and he or she will explain that when you are talking about civil rights, management who restrict freedom of speaking their native language in a informal setting as the work canteen is down right in breach of a person basic civil rights
YES infront of pax, where you are within earshot of your farepaying passengers etc. where company income may be affected, I do agree with an Engish only rule,
threatening staff with this gagging order I would think places the company on dodgy ground.

i know where you are coming from,
you are showing respect as do I

i speak english when english speaking people are within my company...
but when speaking to native spanish speakers, i expect my company would ALLOW and give me permission to talk to them in the language that I grew up with,
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Old 27th Apr 2008, 21:24
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Mike_76 can you explain what a language has to do with racial intolerance? Are ICAO now guilty of some obscure racial "thingy" because of the requirement to speak a specified language? Why is everyone so obsessed with "race" when in reality it has nothing to do with "race"?
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Old 27th Apr 2008, 21:25
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...I'm getting lost here.

What about taking this up with your employer?

Ask why; surely they'll know the reason.

We can't help.
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Old 27th Apr 2008, 21:29
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English proficient?

I have a dugree un Unglish and yet I still have to sit the proficiency test...
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Old 27th Apr 2008, 21:29
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Flight deck or Cabin crew?

Mike76 are you flight deck crew or Cabin Crew?
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Old 27th Apr 2008, 21:48
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This is total bollock !!
You may speak whatever language you want ouside the aircraft. Your employer wouldn't last 2 seconds in a court of law.
If the whole world ends up speaking " english only " it is going to become a jolly boring place.
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Old 27th Apr 2008, 21:49
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My company also states that English is the designated language on board for communication between crew members. ( I believe it is a licencing authority requirement) This even means "chats" between crew members who may both speak a different first language. I should imagine it is more to do with maintaining good CRM among the rest of the crew rather than some crew members talking in a different language that nobody else on the crew can understand. It is a bit like whispering. It can be seen as rude and antisocial, even if it isn't meant to be.
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