The problem is not new, but I agree with Jenny that awareness of the issue is needed at a time when what used to be a sellers’ market for many years has definitely, and probably definitively, turned into a buyers’ market, our employers in all sectors being the buyers.
The problem has always been twofold, individual and professional, even in what some senior colleagues now call “the good old times”. Let me begin with the personal problem of individual interpreters. Immediately after the foundation of AIIC we were faced with the fact that some of the great conference interpreters of the pre-AIIC area were simply unable to cope, particularly in simultaneous interpretation which was coming into widespread use. Some quit while others kept going, either because they could not accept that their moment of glory was over, or because they needed the money having failed to make provision for their old age, or in the worst case both. Giving up was all the more painful for them as some of their older colleagues kept on working brilliantly year after year. The most shining example was of course Jean Herbert whose career as a conference interpreter started in 1919.
And there we were, watching the drama unfold. Should we as good friends tell them to stop? Should we offer them easy meetings or help them financially? Some of us did, but it always was a most delicate and painful matter and never more than a stopgap solution. Later, when this situation was compounded by some terrible cases of illness or accidental death, we organised fund raising actions for the victims or their families. In some cases the beneficiaries recovered and repaid the aid received, but things were always handled on an ad hoc basis.( Read moreCollapse )
When the victorious alliance broke apart immediately after the Second World War, and country by country Eastern Europe fell under the sway of communist regimes, it was inevitable that the hitherto united socialist trade union movement would split into two blocks.
Communist unions, such as the French Confédération Générale du Travail, remained in the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU); non-communist socialist unions based on principles of Western democracy, e.g. the British Trade Union Congress (TUC), united in the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (IFCTU).( Read moreCollapse )