Two Swedish-speaking girls employed by the Soldier’s Home at the naval base in Obbnäs (Upinniemi in Finnish) in Kyrkslätt (Kirkkonummi) municipality received orders from their manager not to speak Swedish between themselves, according to a report in this morning’s Hufvudstadsbladet.
The paper reports that the incident occurred during the middle of June this year. One of the girls no longer works at the Soldier’s Home but the other is still there. Both are teenage upper-secondary school students.
According to the girls, they received on several occasions an order not to speak Swedish to each other in front of customers, which they regarded as embarassing. Both think it is tedious that as two Swedish-speaking Finns they should be forced to speak Finnish with each other. With customers, they always spoke Finnish.
The older colleague who made the instructions insists that she did it in a separate room away from customers. According to her, it’s not polite to speak Swedish and Finnish-speakers can become upset if they hear it. That Swedish is one of the country’s official languages is of no regard, according to her.
The head of the Solidier’s Home in Obbnäs, Raili Pursi, told Hufvudstadsbladet that the older colleague has now herself received instructions that she may not make demands regarding the Swedish language in the future. He told the paper, “Naturally, Swedish-speaking employees may speak their native language. Anything else is unacceptable.”
Soldier’s Homes are places run by the independent association ´Sotilaskotiliitto-Soldathemsförbundet ry/rf´ which is not a part of the defence forces. They are placed at military bases and are places for soldiers to spend their leisure time at, with cafeteria and games facilities etc.
Image: The Soldier’s Home in Dragsvik – where it is definitely allowed to speak Swedish, both between the staff and to the customers!