A funny end to an ALS phone call
I had a call from ALS, a chap with an American accent who was in their sales department and was working in recruitment to help them out. A big sign of desperation consistent with calls other interpreters have received recently. I managed to keep him on the phone for an hour to give him less time to pester my other colleagues. You may wish to know what happened at the end!!
I remained polite and encouraging throughout and went through his background. I asked questions which he often had to ask his colleagues for an answer. His colleagues were helping by passing messages to him.
I started off by saying that I had not heard of ALS before. This gave him some hope that he was in with a chance of recruiting me. And when he told me that he had my phone number from NRPSI, I asked what the abbreviations stood for. He did not know the answer.
1) I asked him about their rates (hardly worth mentioning), cancellation policies (which they do not have by the way), number of interpreters etc.
2) I told him that their mileage payment made no sense as after deducting the first 20 miles from any public transport cost in London, one would be left with no pay and in practice one has to pay the whole of transport cost from his/her own pocket. He commented that he agreed with me.
3) I said that I had heard of people getting booked for 8 hours of court time pay and that they were paid only for the actual time the case took even if the case was over in an hour. He confirmed this was true.
4) I told him that I was surprised that ALS was still recruiting as the last thing I had heard was that ALS was not recruiting as they had enough interpreters. (This of course was a mind game to make interpreters panic and join). He admitted that the information given previously was not true.
5) I told him that I have heard that many interpreters are not willing to work for ALS because of their bad reputation and that I had read an article in a newspaper earlier on that day about ALS’s failures. He asked me which paper and I deliberately gave him a wrong name. The article was in METRO, by the way.
6) I told him that I hear from many sources that the contract is doomed and ALS will collapse soon.
By this time he was sufficiently deflated. So I moved on to give him a good lesson.
7) I said many interpreters are leaving this profession because of the contract having been given to ALS and they will not come back to this profession unless the contract is taken back, so he is making his phone calls in vein as there are no interpreters whom he could recruit.
8) I said that I would consider joining if he kept calling me for some conversations (to take more of his time) but for the time being I have decided to leave this profession ( I lied, I will live on to see ALS buried).
9) I asked him if their phone calls get recorded, he said no.
What surprised me was that he never suspected or at least asked me how come that for someone who had said early in the conversation that he had not even heard of ALS, I happen to be so knowledgeable about them and the field. The answer would be very simple, I dedicated my time to defeat them.
I moved on to recruiting him!
I told him: ALS will collapse and he better think carefully about his job and family. I told him that I have access to a lot of well paid jobs if he wished to keep my phone number and leave ALS before it is too late.
He tried to recruit me but I think he ended up getting recruited by me. I give myself and all of you who have stood firm with me 9 out 10. I reserve 10 out of 10 for when we get rid of this contract.
I wished him the best (if he left ALS, I meant).
On a more serious note I must say that ALS follows the line of policy when calling us that they recruit only the qualified people. This is what he said to me. But no doubt they say that only when they call the qualified people from NRPSI. To test this theory, I told him during the conversation that I may not join them personally but I know some people who are unqualified and inexperienced and wish to join ALS and so I asked him whether he could help them and whether they could work for ALS. He said: of course.
Here is the truth, this is what ALS is about, interest of justice means nothing to them. As soon as they have enough cheap and unqualified people on their books, they will get rid of the qualified people who cost them more. They will bring the rate of pay to the lowest possible and if you think ALS’s greed stops at their current proposed rates, you are wrong. They will cut the rates, travel time, mileage and so on.
Good luck to anyone who wishes to work for them but do not count me in. Anyone who works for ALS or wishes to do so, is digging her/his own grave.
Dr Hassan Sobati 07951156898
28/03/2012 - Newsletter Number 24 (Solidarity Group of Interpreters)