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Celtic Royal hotel ex-worker
"They were reprimanded...given written warnings and told not to speak their first language"
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Monday, 2 October, 2000, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
Hotel bans staff from speaking Welsh
Celtic Royal hotel, Caernarfon
Celtic Royal hotel: staff allege Welsh language ban
A leading hotel in north Wales has banned its staff from speaking Welsh, a BBC Wales investigation has revealed.

The ban on Welsh at the Celtic Royal Hotel in Caernarfon, Gwynedd, is one of a series of complaints about the way staff are treated there.

One young woman has received compensation after a manager at the hotel told her to undress and then searched her body for money.

The story of Diane Thomas from Rhosgadfan is being told in BBC Wales's Welsh-language current affairs series Taro Naw on Monday night on S4C.

She was working at a cleaner at the prestigious hotel when she was accused of stealing money.


She was told to strip as two members of staff searched for the money in her underclothes.

The hotel stresses that she was not forced to undress, and that they had offered to call the police.

But the action resulted in Diane Thomas getting compensation for the experience.

If you spoke Welsh on the walkie-talkie, you were warned not to do it or you would be sacked

Ex-worker at Celtic Royal hotel
"I was in tears. I would never go back to working there," she said.

Taro Naw has spoken to at least 30 other people who used to work at the hotel and who complained about long working hours.

Some have also complained that they were banned from speaking Welsh.

"If you spoke Welsh on the walkie-talkie, you were warned not to do it or you would be sacked," said one young man who worked as a porter at the hotel but who wished to remain anonymous.

The owner of the Celtic Royal hotel, James White, denied that his policy was anti-Welsh, but he admitted staff working as porters, in the restaurant or in the reception area were forbidden to speak Welsh if non-Welsh-speaking visitors were present.

Bright future

Mr White, a businessman from Donegal, told Taro Naw the tourist industry in the west of Ireland had not succeeded by being anti-English, and that Welsh speakers needed to change their attitude.

He said he accepted that the hotel had had staff problems at the beginning, but that it now had a bright future.

When the hotel opened under its new management three years ago, it had more than 1m of public money from Gwynedd county council and the Wales tourist board to improve facilities.

Caernarfon is in a strongly Welsh-speaking area. where around 80% of the population can speak the language.

Taro Naw is on S4C at 9.00pm on 2 October. English subtitles are available on television text 888.

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See also:

01 Aug 00 | Wales
Welsh language campaign call
28 Jun 00 | Wales
Call for language act rejected
08 Aug 00 | Wales
Call for new language movement
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