I am boycotting all legal bookings connected to the Framework Agreement (FWA) as quite simply I believe the contract is wrong.
I do not agree that it is totally different for BSL interpreters. At the moment full rates of pay are being adhered to but cancellation fees are not. Indeed Clarion state there is now a three day cancellation period which is a huge drop to the majority of interpreters terms and conditions. I think it is scandalous to expect an interpreter to accept an assignment for a week or more with that time period in place, especially as there is no guarantee of filling those lost days with other bookings. I wonder how one is supposed to pay their mortgage, rent, bills and other expenses.
There are some excellent agencies in operation that respect the worth of interpreters and pay them accordingly. I think over the last few years many other companies have erroneously jumped on board the interpreting and translation bandwagon as they see it as an excellent way to make money on the backs of hardworking interpreters and translators. When tendering for contracts it appears they put in the lowest bid to win said contracts with little to no consultation with interpreters. If there is consultation it appears whatever interpreters say in regards to fees, additional costs and cancellations is ignored.
It appears in order for agencies to survive and make a profit they have systematically attempted and often succeeded in cutting rates of pay and ignoring interpreters own terms and conditions. Given comments from various sources in recent weeks it appears those interpreters willing to accept a lower rate of pay may have very little understanding of what they are actually worth. A colleague mentioned recently that when they were working as a Communication Support Worker (CSW) they were paid around £9.00 an hour and to be paid anything above this on a freelance basis seemed like a real coup. When some of these CSW’s then apply for Trainee status with the NRCPD (National Registers of Communication Professionals working with Deaf and Deafblind People) it is no wonder they are happy to accept a reduced rate of pay. In addition there is the risk that they do bookings which would be better suited to a qualified and more experienced interpreter.
I applaud those brilliant agencies that put D/deaf people and Non English Speakers (NES) at the forefront of their ethos by providing the right interpreter for the job at a fee that is commensurate with their skill. I worry that these agencies are being forever squeezed out of the market. I urge all interpreters to boycott this FWA and allow its demise. Signed and spoken language interpreters together can send out a clear message to agencies that supply interpreting provision to local government, health and more; that they need to respect an interpreter’s worth and put in tenders that reflect this.
It now appears Applied Language Solutions, now part of Capita, have in the past few months lost a number of their management team and according to Linkedin Applied Language Solutions founder and CEO Gavin Wheeldon has also left http://www.linkedin.com/pub/gavin-wheeldon/4/a69/230.
The daily reports on the Linguist Lounge website and the enormous amount of tweets being circulated continue to show the boycott is working. It is making a difference.
Paula Fye, Registered Sign Language Interpreter