Translators working for Scots cops and courts 'exploited for £5 an hour wages'
Interpreters working for the police and courts claim they are earning below the legal minimum wage.
Linguists say their pay can be as little as £5 an hour as agencies refuse to cover all travel time between jobs.
Hundreds of translators work every day in Scotland’s biggest public sector institutions, with the NHS a huge client.
One worker, who did not want to be named, said: “I frequently earn way below the minimum wage.
“The main problem is we’re expected to travel on our own time, which doesn’t seem fair.
“I can end up working five or six hours for free getting between jobs, with just three hours’ translation time paid. It means the hourly rate of £18.75 is meaningless and my overall pay can be £5 or £6 an hour.”
Employers are legally bound to pay workers over 25 at least £8.21p an hour. But translators are classed as self-employed and many work through agencies, meaning the law will not be broken if they earn less.
Another translator said: “It is stressful work and you can be in a cell or court with a
dangerous criminal. We at least deserve to be paid the minimum wage and get decent terms and conditions.”
Mark McHugh, of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union, said: “It’s clearly an unacceptable situation that can’t be allowed to continue.
Labour MSP Neil Findlay said: “Central to this injustice is the way contracts are procured by public bodies such as Police Scotland, the NHS and court service. We can’t allow this to continue – it’s exploitation.”
Scottish Lib Dem MSP Katy Gordon added: “Translators should be paid properly for their time and not be left out of pocket.”
The Scottish Government said they encouraged all employers to pay the real Living Wage.”
Police Scotland said they sought to ensure all suppliers paid their employees the Living Wage.