Kohtla-Järve supermarket staff fall foul of language board swoop

Maxima store signage in Estonia.
Maxima store signage in Estonia. Source: Maxima Grupe

Three supermarket staff have been fined in the Ida-Viru County town of Kohtla-Järve for having an insufficient command of the Estonian language, while six more have been hit with a warning, for the same reason.

Inquisitors from the Estonian Language Board (Keeleamet) swooped on the store, a Maxima outlet, earlier this week, BNS reports, and tested seven staff members' Estonian-language, deeming only one of them to be up to the task, linguistically-speaking.

The mother tongue of around 80 percent of Kohtla-Järve's 35,000 inhabitants is Russian.

The six have been ordered to take an Estonian language exam and issued with a precept.

A further three Maxima employees working at the same store who had failed to comply with an earlier precept have been fined, with the precept's validity period extended.

Customer-facing workers had in the past been required to have Estonian language skills at B2 level in the Common European Framework (CEF), while the level required to obtain citizenship remains at B1.

The CEF follows a six-tier grading system, A1-A2, B1-B2, C1-C2, where A1 represents beginner level and C2 full proficiency.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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