Interpreters are currently boycotting LanguageLine because of the cuts they have made to interpreters’ fees. NUBSLI took the protest to LanguageLine’s HQ in Canary Wharf, London.
Mariella Reina, NUBSLI’s Equalities Officer, interviews Roger Lewis from DPAC, on why they are supporting our boycott. You can listen to the interview and read the transcript, below.
Read the interview transcript
You are listening to a NUBSLI podcast. In this podcast, the NUBSLI Equalities Officer, Mariella Reina (MR), interviews Roger Lewis (RL) from DPAC at the LanguageLine protest.
MR: Ok, we are here with Roger Lewis from Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC). Perhaps you could explain who DPAC are.
RL: We are a bunch of disabled people who saw clearly what would happen when the Tory government was elected 7 years ago. We knew there was going to be a huge assault on the working lives, the benefits and welfare entitlements of disabled people, and we needed to have a voice in what was happening because it was going to affect so many people. We needed to be organised in terms of having an organisation that could articulate exactly what was going to be coming and what we were going to have to do to oppose it.
MR: Why are DPAC supporting the NUBSLI boycott?
RL: DPAC have supported NUBSLI from the outset, as an organisation that is designed to bring together a group of people who are hugely important for the support and interests of the Deaf community. Deaf people rely on interpreters to be their voice. The barrier that Deaf people face is not their hearing loss – it’s society’s inability to communicate with them [MR: absolutely] and have open communication, and that needs people who understand the Deaf community but also have the skills to interpret the language that Deaf people have used for so many hundreds of years.
MR: Is there a wider context to all of this?
RL: Yes, the wider context is what’s happening. I’m old enough to remember when the Deaf and disabled communities organised in the 1980s and 1990s, where we were articulating and moving forwards in developing our human rights: issues like the recognition of BSL as a language, the recognition of disabled people’s barriers and needing legislation to enforce our equal rights and opportunities in the same way that other disadvantaged groups have been recognised in relation to race, gender and sexuality.
What’s happened since 2007 with the election of this Tory government, we knew there was going to be a huge onslaught to try to push back all of those rights so this is about us being able to defend all of the advances and the successes we’ve won in the past, and also trying to say that we’ve still got a long way to go before we achieve full inclusion and full equality. For us, that’s very, very true of our brothers and sisters in the Deaf community, as it is for disabled people.
MR: Absolitely. NUBSLI is incredibly grateful for your support, Roger, so thank you very much for chatting to us briefly today.
RL: You’re more than welcome. I’m very pleased to be here, it’s a delight. We will keep working together.
MR: Wonderful, thank you.
That was a NUBSLI podcast. NUBSLI: standing up for interpreters; standing with the Deaf community. Thanks for listening.