A NUBSLI review of the year

By NUBSLI | Published on 5 January 2016

Last updated on April 5th, 2019 at 8:15 pm

Related: NUBSLI

NUBSLI 2015 review

It’s been a very busy 2015 for NUBSLI. Our first full year since the union was established and a lot has been achieved during this time. Here are some of our highlights:

#ScrapTheFramework campaign

We started the year trying to engage with Crown Commercial Services regarding the creation of a new Language Services framework for interpreting and translation, including BSL. After numerous failed attempts to commence a dialogue over the issues and concerns, (we were not receiving adequate responses to our requests), we set up the Scrap The Framework campaign.

This had a huge impact on how we were perceived by the CCS, (and other government agencies) who soon realised we were an important and serious stakeholder. This has taken up a lot of our time during the year.

We have had many wins during this campaign that have strengthened requirements, closed many loop holes and seen the code of conduct extended to include agencies.

This campaign has been supported by Unite the Union, MPs and many famous and high profile figures, including Richard Wilson OBE and Dame Harriet Walter.

We remain committed to seeing services provided directly wherever possible and are excited to see colleagues organising themselves in different locations to provide alternative solutions. NUBSLI are keen to provide our support for these initiatives in the coming year.

NUBSLI’s inaugural national meeting: 20th March 2015

Our first national meeting became an important turning point in our work. We heard from key figures from the disability and union movements and also from Jeremy Corbyn who came to speak to us about the importance of our work and in unionising. This meeting helped to put NUBSLI on the map!

People’s Assembly Anti-Austerity March: 20th June 2015

This march proved to be a valuable event for NUBSLI and one which showed the merit of a union who is actively engaged politically with the anti-austerity movement.

We were able to ensure the Deaf community were given full access to this event, with many of our members both Deaf & hearing volunteering to steward. BSL/English interpreters were placed next to the speakers and as a result of this proximity were included in televised footage. This made Deaf people and our issues highly visible to a mainstream audience. The march was an event which marked the Deaf community and interpreters coming together in a real show of solidarity.

photo of NUBSLI interpreting for Jeremy CorbynNUBSLI members have also provided access support for: Jeremy Corbyn’s Leadership Rallies, People’s Assembly #Junior Doctors Rally, Stand Up to Racism event, Disability Labour events, DPAC (numerous demos), Trade Union Organising Group Meeting, Unite the Resistance National Meeting and many more.

New Committee Members/ Regional organisers

We were delighted to welcome several new members to the committee. Our committee is now comprised of new members: Sam Riddle, Karen Houlihan, Rachael Veazey, Emma Lipton alongside existing members: Jen Smith, Chris Curran, Mariella Reina, Karen Whitehouse, Omoyele Thomas and Nicky Evans. Not forgetting Wes Mehaffy who has provided essential and ongoing technical support.

It is important that our members are able to get involved in NUBSLI’s work to ensure that we provide a collective and strong voice when representing our profession.

We have also seen the establishment of a network of Regional organisers. Whilst this isn’t an official elected role, it is essential that we have members in different areas across the country to help organise locally and distribute information and materials.

We have been grateful for the support from a number of members over the year – voluntarily interpreting at meetings or events; contributing to work on specific projects; stewarding marches; passing on pertinent information relating to the interpreting landscape around the country; attending meetings on NUBSLI’s behalf etc. These contributions and general input has been much appreciated and extremely valuable.

Stop Changes To Access To Work march: 26th September 2015

photo of the Stop Changes marchA key event of the year, where the Deaf community took the lead in demonstrating about Access to Work cuts. Attended by over 1,000 Deaf & disabled people, support workers, interpreters and supporters, we heard from leading figures from the Deaf, disability and anti-austerity movements. NUBSLI were very proud to take part in this event with the impressive roster of speakers including our Chair, Jen Smith.

#FeesFightback Campaign

The #FeesFightback campaign is a relatively new piece of work which we see as vital in challenging the unsustainable rates that agencies and the government framework are trying to impose, particularly the drive towards 2 hour minimum payments. Over 400 interpreters and supporters have joined us in calling for agencies to work in a sustainable way to ensure high quality and experienced interpreters remain in the profession. We are delighted that the BDA are supporting us with this work.

A sad farewell to our Chair, Jen Smith

a photo of Jen Smith, outgoing-Chair of NUBSLIWe can’t possibly talk about the achievements of this year without mentioning the key role played by our outgoing Chair, Jen Smith. Jen has provided knowledge, expertise, and commitment to the role of Chair. She works at a phenomenal rate and her work on membership engagement has helped shaped NUBSLI into what it is today.

Without Jen we would not have been aware of the framework which was only being created with the involvement of those that had registered an interest in government procurement. We owe her a huge debt of gratitude for many things, but particularly her tenacity in finding out about crucial information that has the potential to have wide reaching implications.

The NUBSLI committee is very much like a family unit and we are all extremely sad to see Jen leave. We are obviously delighted by her news though and hope to see the new baby Smith at one of our demos in the not too distant future!

On behalf of the committee and all our members, thank you Jen, for all your support, hard work and commitment to our union. We will be holding a special farewell branch meeting in the new year and hope you all come along to show your gratitude and say goodbye to a very special Chair!

NUBSLI would like to take this opportunity to wish you all seasons greetings and a very happy year ahead. Thank you all for your continued support to your union.