BECTU's National Executive Committee (NEC) is made up of representatives elected by the union's membership; the president chairs meetings of the NEC and is elected in a separate ballot. Members of the NEC elect the vice-president and the treasurer from their number. The union's general officers, include the general secretary, president, vice-president and treasurer.
The NEC oversees the operation of the union on behalf of the membership throughout the year. NEC meetings are held approximately every six weeks and the minutes are distributed to branches. The NEC provides an annual report to members, via their representatives, which is considered at the annual conference.
Martin Spence, assistant general secretary, with president, Christine Bond. Pic: Mark Dimmock
Reproduced below is Rule 33 which covers the responsibilities of the NEC.
Rule 33 National Executive Committee
(a) The general management and administration of the union's affairs shall be vested in a National Executive Committee, which shall be the principal executive committee of the union and which shall be responsible to annual conference for the working of the union in accordance with these rules. Between meetings of conference the National Executive Committee shall be deemed to represent the will of the union subject to the authority of conference as the supreme policy making and governing body of the union.
(b) With effect from the elections to be held in 1994, the National Executive Committee of the union shall consist of representatives elected in accordance with the clauses below from each of the following divisions:
- Arts and Entertainment
- Independent Broadcasting
- London Production
- Regional Production
as defined in rule 31 and/or such other divisions as may be established under rule 31(b) on the basis of one representative for each 2,000 members or part thereof in each respective division. The successful candidates shall be those elected in accordance with clause (h)(i)-(iv) below.
The National Executive Committee shall elect the Vice-President and Treasurer from amongst its members. The National Executive Committee shall also include the President, who shall be elected at the same time as the representatives defined above in the manner set out in clause (h) below.
(c) For the purposes of calculating divisional memberships within each of the divisions in clause (b) above, each branch will be assessed on its fully paid-up members as at 31st December immediately preceding the year of the election, such membership to be certified by the General Secretary. Branches shall have the right to challenge such assessment, by application to the National Executive Committee.
(d) No paid official or employee of the union shall be eligible for election to the National Executive Committee.
(e) Each candidate for election to the National Executive Committee must be a paid-up member of the union and shall give his/her consent in writing. Nothing in these rules shall prevent two paid-up members of the same division being nominated as ‘job-sharing' candidates to a position on the National Executive Committee. Save for conference where both shall attend, only one job-sharing member may attend each meeting and in the event of one resigning the other must also do so, creating a vacancy to which rule 33(g) will apply. Candidates may stand for election for a division of which they are a member. Should a member, for any cause whatsoever, transfer to another division, that member must resign from the National Executive Committee and the vacancy be filled in accordance with rule 33(g).
(f) Subject to clause (e), each member of the National Executive Committee shall be elected and hold office for a period of two years and shall be eligible for re-election.
(g) Should, for any cause whatsoever, a vacancy occur among the divisional members of the National Executive Committee the candidate with the next highest number of votes at the last election shall be deemed to be the representative for the remainder of the term, provided that he/she has remained a paid-up member of the union, is still eligible and is otherwise able to fill the vacancy. In the event of there being no such candidate, or should for any cause whatsoever a vacancy occur for the position of President, a new member shall be elected for the remainder of the term in a manner consistent with the rules for the election of the National Executive Committee or President.
(h)(i) Candidates for election to represent a division under clause (b) must be nominated by a branch with members in the relevant division, duly convening under rule 28(a)(v). In the event of any branch, after due notice has been issued convening to consider the nomination of candidates for election, being unable for any reason to obtain a quorum, it shall be competent for the branch committee to undertake the duties and functions in connection therewith, and to submit a nomination or nominations. A report of such a meeting must be submitted to the General Secretary for information. Candidates to represent a division shall be voted for only by paid-up members within that division. Candidates for election as President under clause (b) above must be nominated for that position by at least one branch in any of the divisions in clause (b) above, and otherwise in the same manner as prescribed for the nomination of candidates to represent divisions. Candidates for President shall be voted for by all paid-up members irrespective of their division.
(h)(ii) The General Secretary in the January before the National Executive Committee elections to be held under this rule shall circularise all branches inviting nominations. Nomination papers shall be returned by the branch secretary so that they are received by the General Secretary not later than the first Monday of March following. Candidates nominated may submit a written election address of not more than 600 words for the information and consideration of members. This address shall also be received by the General Secretary not later than the first Monday of March.
(h)(iii) The ballot papers for the elections shall be prepared and issued by the Electoral Reform Society, or some other independent body, to each member, together with the election addresses and a prepaid envelope for return of the ballot paper to the independent issuing body. The final date for receipt of the ballot paper by the independent issuing body shall be not later than the last day of April following.
(h)(iv) Voting arrangements shall prevent any candidate from being elected to more than one place on the National Executive Committee. The votes for President shall be counted first, and where a candidate has been validly nominated for election to the National Executive Committee as both President and divisional representative, he/she shall if successfully elected as President not also be elected in any other capacity, and the person with the next highest number of votes in the election in the division concerned shall be declared elected as a representative for that division.
(h)(v) Subject to rule 40(d) the General Secretary, on receipt of the ballot results from the independent issuing body, shall publish that body's report verbatim.
(i)(i) The National Executive Committee shall meet at intervals of not more than six weeks on dates determined by the National Executive Committee. Notice of such dates shall be circulated to all branches.
(i)(ii) Additional meetings of the National Executive Committee shall be convened by the National Executive Committee itself or within 14 days of receipt by the General Secretary of a written request from at least ten members of the National Executive Committee or by the General Secretary in accordance with rule 37(g).
(j) The National Executive Committee shall determine the standing orders for its meetings. These shall provide that a quorum of the National Executive Committee shall be not less than half its membership.
(k) If three or more members of the National Executive Committee call for a named vote immediately before the vote is taken, the names of those voting, and the way in which they voted, shall be recorded and entered in the minutes of the National Executive Committee for circulation in the usual manner.
(l) The National Executive Committee shall determine any question on which the rules are silent or otherwise require interpretation and shall report such decisions to annual conference. The National Executive Committee has no power to alter the rules of the union.
(m) Subject to rule 40(c), the National Executive Committee shall be responsible for the administration of the finances of the union, shall nominate signatories of cheques drawn by the union and shall prepare and present to annual conference a financial report and balance sheet.
(n) The National Executive Committee shall deal with all matters referred to it by the conference and its decisions on all matters shall be final and decisive unless the rules or resolution of the conference provide otherwise.
(o) The National Executive Committee shall publish annually to members a report of its work and this report shall be presented for the consideration of the annual conference.
(p) The National Executive Committee shall be empowered to investigate, in such manner as it may determine, all complaints made by or against a member or members to the General Secretary and falling outside rule 24, and to give a decision thereon.
(q)(i) The National Executive Committee shall appoint a full and competent staff and determine by negotiations with the recognised trade union(s) their terms and conditions of employment. Interviews will be conducted by an authorised sub-committee whose members shall be trained in fair selection procedures, and who shall abide by the relevant TUC, and statutory equality commission or commissions guides and codes of conduct for selection and interviewing procedures.
(q)(ii) The National Executive Committee shall establish superannuation, pension or insurance schemes for the benefit of paid officials and employees.
(r) The National Executive Committee shall instruct the General Secretary to draw up minutes of its proceedings which shall be issued to all branch secretaries within fourteen days of the date of the meeting. The minutes should indicate a clear National Executive Committee decision on each item of business, and should offer a short summary of the information used by the National Executive Committee when reaching decisions. All motions put and seconded should be recorded. The National Executive Committee minutes shall be written in such a way as to be clearly understood by those who have not attended either the meetings so minuted or any previous meetings in which decisions referred to were also taken.
(s) The General Secretary and Assistant General Secretaries shall attend all National Executive Committee meetings. They may speak but shall not have the right to vote.
(t) By invitation of the National Executive Committee or the General Secretary, other paid officials of the union may attend National Executive Committee meetings as observers only and may not vote. They may speak at such meetings solely for the purpose of providing the National Executive Committee with factual information or with technical or professional advice with respect to matters taken into account by the National Executive Committee in carrying out its functions.
(u) The National Executive Committee, to help it in the conduct of its business, may appoint subcommittees from amongst its own membership and shall determine their calendar of meetings. These subcommittees will report and make recommendations to the National Executive Committee and will be responsible to it. Conference or the National Executive Committee may establish ad hoc or specialist committees, representation on which may be drawn from branches, divisions, areas or the National Executive Committee or any combination of these. These committees will report and make recommendations to the National Executive Committee and will be responsible to it.
(v) The National Executive Committee shall when practicable institute a black members sub-committee comprising black representatives from each division of the union. This sub-committee shall report to annual conference and provide a black representative ('black' as defined by the statutory equality commission) as an ex-officio member to each divisional committee if there is not already a black member elected to that divisional committee. All BECTU national committees will have at least one black representative nominated by the black members sub-committee where this is not contrary to law or other rules of the union.
(w) Subject to the approval of the National Executive Committee and to the following sub-clauses there may be constituted a BECTU History Project (and such other specialist Projects as the National Executive Committee may from time to time determine).
The History Project's object shall be the recording by interview of the working lives and experiences of practitioners across the audio visual and entertainment industries to form an accessible archive, fully compliant with such data protection and intellectual property rights as may apply, for the benefit of cultural, academic, educational or trade union and labour movement users and such other users as may from time to time be determined by the Project subject to the approval of the National Executive Committee. Users shall be required to acknowledge BECTU as the source in any published use of material.
Participants in the Project need not be limited to current or past members of BECTU, but non-member participants shall not be entitled individually to the financial benefits of the union.
The Project shall be empowered to negotiate contractual arrangements with appropriate partners (which may include partners supplying funding and resources) for the furtherance of its objects, such contracts being made in the name of the union and subject to the prior approval of the National Executive Committee.
The Project may elect its own officers for the administration of the Project in accordance with standing orders approved by the National Executive Committee, and shall provide such reports (including financial reports) to the National Executive Committee and to annual conference as the National Executive Committee shall require.
(x) The National Executive Committee shall be responsible for the organisation of the union, general publicity, general relations with the employers' or other organisations, the general policy of the union and all matters affecting members in more than one division or area of the union. It shall consider any collective views on these matters from divisions, sub-divisions, areas and branches.
(y) The National Executive Committee shall determine the amounts which members, paid officials and employees of the union shall receive for travelling and subsistence expenses incurred as a result of approved union business. The amounts so determined shall be published to branches.