IR-MultiLing researched areas of understanding/misunderstanding and intended/unintended outcomes arising from language policy choices and whether the costs and benefits of linguistic diversity map differently for employers and managers than for employees. Researching with case studies in France, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Spain and the UK, the project helped develop a typology of multilingual work environments contrasting multinational and national/local organisations with different management and non-management linguistic experiences. It took into consideration whether workers lacking full linguistic access at work were treated differently in terms of their access to trade union participation and support. Where they are members of what are still Europe’s largest civil society organisations, trade unions, the issue of who is appointed or elected to represent their interests was an important one. Supported by National Advisory Groups of social partners and other experts IR-MultiLing added to industrial relations expertise in this little-researched area, developed recommendations for decision-makers and produced a training DVD aimed at trade unionists.
The project's objectives were:
Establish the trends in the presence of multilingualism at work.
Research the relationship between positive and negative experiences of multilingualism and the industrial relations workplace context.
Develop an analytical framework to help explain strategic decisions by employers and trade unions on the issues of voluntarism or compulsion in relation to language training, the adoption of a universal language, and the toleration of multilingualism (dual/triple signage, bilingual line managers, etc).
Complete an effective comparison of the contexts and outcomes across Europe’s biggest economies and present recommendations to employers, trade unions and policy-makers.
Produce a training DVD/YouTube film for trade unionists showing different ways of overcoming the obstacles to participation by multilingual minorities.
This project is funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the CPS and the European Commission cannot be held responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.