Written by 5:16 am European Union

Striking EU parliament interpreters want president to weigh in

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Negotiations to resolve a strike between European Parliament staff interpreters and its administration have collapsed.

Efforts are now being made to ratchet up the talks to the political level in the hopes that the cabinet of European Parliament president Roberta Metsola can find a solution.

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And while interpreters are working at the booths and on site, they still refuse to interpret those that dial-in remotely due to poor sound quality and increased work load.

Future employment fears are also mounting following a demand by parliament’s directorate-general personnel (DG Pers) to register those on strike.

Meanwhile, the three meetings held over the summer with DG Pers and the directorate general on logistics (DG Linc) failed to find any solution.

An internal email sent by the trade unions U4U and Union Syndicale Fédérale Bruxelles to Metsola, seen by EUobserver, said the meetings had been a waste of time. It noted that the head of DG Pers, Kristian Knudsen, “did not have the mandate to negotiate any legal framework.”

So when the parliament’s administration sent another invite in September to negotiate, the trade unions and interpreter’s representatives refused.

The interpreters want rules to regulate exposure to the degraded sound. This could mean placing a cap on the duration of the meetings, for instance, or some other framework adapted to remote interventions.

Now they want Metsola to intervene, in a format that had helped usher in other changes following a 2018 interpreter strike.

The strike is set to continue to 27 September.

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