ECHO COMMENT: It's not just Aldi who need to do more to help Polish fit in
THE story of Agata Dabek throws up a number of issues that should concern us all.
Clearly, the staff at the Aldi store were completely out of order in the way they dealt with her.
For her to be stopped from buying alcohol because the date-of-birth on a Polish passport was deemed to be unacceptable is disgraceful. Even more so because other staff there had been happy to accept it in the past.
Agata knows she looks younger than her 23 years and had carried the passport to ensure she would be able to prove her age.
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But just as worrying is the message the story sends out on how much still has to be done to ensure Polish nationals integrate into the community.
Staff working at nationwide stores like Aldi should surely have been briefed on the need to deal with customers from across the European Union in the same way as they do with UK passport holders.
And Polish interpreter Andy Serkiz speaks of two different types of Polish communities in the country.
Many are mixing with a range of nationalities but another section are making no effort to do so, speaking only Polish within their own narrow circle.
Efforts need to be made to discourage that at all costs. Many Polish workers are making a real difference to our economy but need to integrate properly if both they and the communities they have joined are to thrive.
IT is important that the pressures on so-called “sandwich carers” are highlighted.
Many may feel that they are among a minority of carers who have to care directly for both a seriously ill elderly relative and their children.
They are, but only just. People like Valerie McKay make up 42 per cent of all carers, which equates to 2.4 million across the UK.
Valerie’s commitments mean it is completely impossible for her to work full-time and her family has to survive on her part-time job and allowances that are well below the national minimum wage.
If Valerie wasn’t there for her mum Joyce, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, the cost that would fall on the state would be many times more.
Carers deserve far more support - both emotionally and financially - for the fantastic work they do.