South Lanarkshire councillors have raised concerns after sign language interpreters did not receive timely breaks at a full council meeting.
At the meeting on Wednesday, councillors expressed concerns over the breaks given to the sign language interpreters who were present.
At the meeting, which lasted just over four hours, Provost Margaret Cooper issued breaks, however numerous councillors pointed out that no break had been given in over an hour which goes against protocols. This was eventually addressed and a break was given.
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The protocol for meetings with sign language interpreters is to have a break after an hour of the meeting.
The lack of breaks was first pointed out by Councillor Janine Calikes (Rutherglen Central and North), who said: “I think we need to have a better way of notifying that interpreters need breaks because we’re putting in the chat and they’re not receiving their breaks.”
In response, the Provost stated that she tried to issue breaks accordingly and had hoped the meeting would soon end.
She said: “I’ve tried to take account of breaks as best I can, the meeting has been lengthy, I’m hoping that we’re going to resolve that by coming to a conclusion in the next five or ten minutes of the meeting, so I don’t propose to take a further break at this particular time.”
Councillor Gladys Ferguson-Miller (East Kilbride East), agreed with Councillor Calikes, and said: “Just to echo what Janine was saying, there’s a number of hands up and I think it’s easy for someone who’s not interpreting to say ‘we’ll let it go, we’re nearly finished’, I don’t think that’s fair to interpreters.
“We said that after an hour we would take a break. And if anyone has interpreted for an hour you’ll know how exhausting it is.”
The Provost then stated that there had been a break within the last hour. She said: “The last break we had was for 15 minutes and we resumed the meeting at 1.15pm, so we’ve been working for a further 45 minutes. We haven’t been working a further hour. It would be my intention if the meeting goes beyond that we could have another break.”</…….