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葉一知 | 24/11/10 | 通識英語 | (1448 Reads)

連鎖飲食集團加薪,卻取消員工的有薪午膳,引起爭議:Last month Cafe de Coral offered its staff a rise of between HK$2 and HK$3.50 on their hourly rates, on condition that they forfeit their right to 45 minutes of paid meal break a day (上月大家樂的時薪增加兩元至三個半,條件是員工將喪失每天四十五分鐘的有薪午膳時間)。Forfeit意思是「喪失權利/名譽」等,例如:If you cancel your flight, you will forfeit your deposit (如你取消機位預訂,將喪失按金);on condition that即「依據…條件」;meal break即午膳時間。

 

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此舉屬變相減薪,有走法律罅(use legal loopholes)之嫌,惹來工業行動:A union is trying to drum up support for a plan to boycott the chain (工會正召集各方支持杯葛該快餐店的計劃)。Boycott原是英國退役運人,因收地而遭人抵制,其名字也成了動詞,中譯成「杯葛」;drum是鼓,drum up即「大鑼大鼓」,為了甚麼?就是引起人注意,故drum up有「召集」、「激起」的意思。

杯葛行動如箭在弦,大家樂卻讓步:The chain ditched a plan to deprive staff of paid meal times, heading off a major boycott of its restaurants (快餐店取消剝削員工有薪用膳時間的計劃,以阻截杯葛行動)。Ditch作名詞指「溝渠」,大概溝渠裏的東西都是遭丟棄的,故ditch作動詞時有「取消」、「抛棄」之意;head off本來指趕過人家的頭以欄住他,由此引申出「阻截」、「攔截」之意;deprive是「剝削」,與of連用,例如:They were imprisoned and deprived of their basic rights (他們被囚禁,基本權利也被剝奪),而exploit也有類似意思:What is being done to stop employers from exploiting young people(我們在做甚麼去停止僱主剝削年青人)?

最低工資(minimum wage)推行在即,卻傳出這樣的新聞,令人額外關注。同學又覺得,商界應否履行企業社會責任(corporate social responsibility)呢?工會和市民的行動,大家樂態度的逆轉(turnaround),又帶給你甚麼啟發呢?


趣味小考

問:朋友跟你說「He stuck his neck out for my proposal yesterday」,你知道是甚麼意思嗎?

(a) 他不顧一切挺我的計劃        (b) 他槍打出頭鳥        (c) 他對我的計劃不屑一顧

答:(a)。習語「stick your neck out」意思是「不顧一切支持」,即使要力排眾議。此語來源有不同說法,較有趣的,是指鳥龜遇到危險時便縮頭,故在危險時還伸出脖子,還不是「不顧一切撐你」嗎?