Lidl Porthmadog protest over lack of Welsh language services

Campaigners have protested against the Lidl store in Porthmadog over its lack of Welsh language services with a call to strengthen the law.  

The group of protestors plastered stickers on a Lidl store in Porthmadog which has recently been refurbished. They held placards demanding 'Safonau Iaith i'r Sector Breifat' (Language Standards for the Private Sector) as a part of a campaign to beef-up current language legislation 

The Welsh Government plans to amend the 2011 Welsh language law over the next couple of years. According to a YouGov opinion poll published last week, the majority of people in Wales want to extend language laws to ensure banks and supermarkets supply services in Welsh. 

Speaking about the protest, Manon Elin, rights spokesperson for Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg commented 

"Lidl is disrepecting the Welsh language and we shouldn't have to protest to get these basic services in Welsh. Very many high street stores and supermarkets ignore the needs of the Welsh language across the country. There are a number of examples, like Lidl, where Welsh language provision is cut with rebranding or when new shops open. Legislation would ensure that doesn't happen, and, indeed, it should lead to a significant improvement. 

"Supermarkets are part of people's everyday lives, it's very important that people can shop in Welsh. We hope the Government will take the chance to include supermarkets, and the rest of the private sector under the Welsh language law as they go through the process of strengthening it. Indeed, it was heartening that the Minister said recently that he favoured doing that.  

A recent report by the Welsh Language Commissioner has found that a majority of the publicwhether they speak the language or not - like to see supermarkets use Welsh and want to see greater use of it. Manon Elin added: 

"The Welsh Language Commissioner's recent report, as well as the research we have published, shows that a number of these big companies won't supply full Welsh language services unless they are required to so. That's why legislation is necessary, rather than relying on good will." 

At the moment, the current law - the Welsh Language Measure 2011 - allows the Welsh Government to require some companies such as telecommunications, water, energy and transport to supply services in Welsh, but not businesses in other sectors. Some of the new duties - the Welsh language Standardsare already in force in the public sector. According to Cymdeithas yr Iaith, at a meeting in March, the Minister for the Welsh language, Alun Davies AM, said he supported legislating to ensure that banks and supermarkets provide services in Welsh.