BECTU Conference 2006 proposed policy propositions

Listed on this page are proposed policy propositions submitted by Branches and the union's National Executive Committee (NEC) accepted and rejected by Conference Standing Orders Committee (SOC), along with reasons for rejection.

BECTU Branches can submit amendments to these proposals using the forms enclosed with Conference Document 3 (2005-06) dated 3 February 2006. The closing date for such amendments is 1200 on 5 April 2006.

Propositions accepted by the SOC

AP1 Rule 8

That this annual conference, in a special rules session, approves the following alteration to rule under rule 45(b):

Re-letter existing rule 8 as rule 8(a) and add new clause (b) as follows:

Where a member makes a request for individual representation by an accredited official of the union in a matter that arose prior to the date on which the member is accepted as having joined or rejoined the union, or where the date of the act or event giving rise to a claim made by or on behalf of the member is prior to that joining or rejoining date, that member shall be required to pay a non-refundable contribution of £120 before such representation is provided. Payment of that amount shall not grant any entitlement to legal advice or representation as referred to in rule 21.

National Executive Committee

AP2 Rule 9

That this annual conference, in a special rules session, approves the following alteration to rule under rules 9(e) and 45(b):

In subclause (a)(i), after "or in subclause (ii)" insert "or (iii)", then add new subclause (iii) as follows:

(iii) In their first year of membership, members shall be eligible to pay a reduced introductory subscription of £10.00 per month or £120.00 per annum (or such sum as may be determined by the National Executive Committee in accordance with rule 10). This provision shall not apply to members rejoining the union who have previously paid the introductory subscription rate.

National Executive Committee

AP3 Rule 10

That this annual conference, in a special rules session, approves the following alteration to rule under rules 9(e) and 45(b):

After subclause (i), insert new subclause (ii) as follows, then re-number the remaining subclauses:

(ii) where potential members are employed by a specified employer (whether or not that employer recognises the union) where the union is campaigning to recruit in order to improve its density of membership. Where the National Executive Committee exercises discretion under this subclause, it shall specify the period (not exceeding one year) during which new members may be recruited on reduced subscriptions, and shall report accordingly to annual conference.

National Executive Committee

AP4 Funding for conference

That this annual conference instructs the NEC to seek out local, union-friendly, ethical and otherwise appropriate companies and organisations willing to provide sponsorship at future conferences. Such sponsorship will help subsidise the cost of conference or fund propositions which might otherwise fail on cost grounds.


AP5 Articles in Stage Screen & Radio

That this annual conference requests the NEC to look at the viability and desirability of paying members NUJ rates for contributions to Stage Screen & Radio, and reporting its findings to next year's annual conference.

Writers Producers & Directors

AP6 Union recognition

That this annual conference congratulates the staff of Talkback Thames, BBC Bristol Natural History Unit camera operators, and BBC Scotland freelances, for voting for union recognition in last year's ballots and all the officials and members who worked so hard to achieve it.

Writers Producers & Directors

AP7 Service to freelance members

That this annual conference instructs the union to conduct a survey of all freelance members to ascertain whether the service the union is offering is appropriate to members who are very vulnerable to bullying and exploitation by some unscrupulous employers.

Hair & Makeup

AP8 Freelancers and union duties

That this annual conference notes the rising proportion of freelancers in the industry and the difficulties they face when carrying out union duties. The NEC is therefore requested to look at and report back on the viability and desirability of payments to members for union duties, where they do not have an employer to provide time off for union duties.

Writers Producers & Directors

AP9 Training

That this annual conference deplores the loss of television production, studios and facilities. However, we recognise the need for new forms of media and experimental television but wish to ensure that employers such as the BBC and Independent Television give appropriate training in creative skills and health & safety to achieve professional standards and to pay the recognised remuneration for the duties undertaken.

We there[fore] request the NEC to formulate a suitable strategy to ensure that employers maintain proficient standards and working practices for all members of BECTU.

West Midlands Freelance

SOC note: SOC has deleted the words "in the West Midlands" from the end of the first sentence. If the branch is unable to accept this deletion SOC will remit the proposition to the Regional Production division under rule 42(h).

AP10 Unpaid work experience

That this annual conference deplores the increasing practice by employers of using work experience candidates as unpaid labour. Conference requests the NEC to monitor such abuses where practical and remind employers of the supernumerary and exclusively training nature of work experience, in an effort to eradicate this practice.

Writers Producers & Directors

AP11 Extras' agencies

That this annual conference instructs the NEC to continue negotiations with the DTI, if necessary via the TUC, to tighten regulation of extras' agencies, and where appropriate employment agencies, with particular emphasis on the following:

  1. licencing to be reintroduced and made compulsory before any new agency is allowed to trade, and all existing agencies to be given a set time limit to register;
  2. new agencies to be vetted before allowing them to operate;
  3. enforcement of ten-day turn-around of monies paid into the agency account on behalf of extras;
  4. more stringent rules on up-front fees and commission rates, allowing for regional variations and not purely based on London, where the turnover in one day can be equal to a year's turnover in smaller areas;
  5. abolition of the practice of offering people a one-off job and deducting fees from their payment.

Scottish Freelance

AP12 Film industry sustainability

That this annual conference welcomes the Treasury's announcement of continued fiscal support for UK film production, especially for inward investment and strengthening the cultural test to encourage more UK/European Economic Area employment among film crews and use of UK facilities, as requested by the union. Conference congratulates officials and members who lobbied the government and urges the union to monitor the detailed implementation of these plans in the 2006 Finance Bill.

However, concerns still remain over the sustainability and level of UK film production, distribution and exhibition. Therefore, this conference instructs the NEC, via the Film Policy Committee, to discuss, devise and lobby for measures to be taken by government and/or other relevant public or industry bodies to encourage and promote a sustainable base of UK film production, exhibition and distribution, be it an Eady-style levy, quota, or some other measure or means, to be reported to next year's conference.

Writers Producers & Directors

AP13 Regional screen agencies

That this annual conference acknowledges the strategic importance and influence of the regional screen agencies in assisting the funding of film productions, encouraging new talent within the region, and developing new business in the sector. Conference believes that initiatives led by the screen agencies, for example on diversity or minimum rates of pay, could have an important knock-on effect on the rest of the industry within their region.

In view of the public funding that screen agencies receive and disseminate, BECTU believes that there should be full public accountability and greater input from the industry's workers within each region into the strategic direction that they take.

Conference instructs the NEC to ensure that BECTU is represented on the boards of these regional screen agencies.

North West Freelance

AP14 Unesco Cultural Diversity Convention

That this annual conference instructs the NEC to lobby the government to ratify Unesco's Convention to Protect Cultural Diversity in order to help it become UK, European and international law. The NEC is further instructed to liaise with the 35 national cultural coalitions which fought for the Convention, through the Independent Film Parliament, or some other means, as part of BECTU's role in protecting and encouraging a range of cinema for UK audiences and healthy and diverse selection of British films on our screens.

Writers Producers & Directors

AP15 Copyright parity with Europe

That this annual conference instructs the NEC through the Copyright Committee to pursue and propose a policy document to establish parity with European states (e.g. France and Germany) entrenching authors' rights in the integrity of their work and appropriate fruits thereof.

This policy document should compare and contrast the status of UK creators with European contemporaries as set out in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

Other interested parties (e.g. NUJ, Writers' Guild, Creators' Rights Alliance, PACT, British Council of Copyright, and others, as seen fit) should be consulted.

This policy document shall be presented to the next annual conference.

Writers Producers & Directors

AP16 Office of the Pensions Advisory Service

That this annual conference, in view of the growing pensions crisis, instructs the NEC to affiliate BECTU to the voluntary organisation OPAS (Office of the Pensions Advisory Service) to provide support for the work of OPAS and reciprocally provide BECTU and its members with a ready source of expertise on general pensions matters rather than individual specific actuarial advice.

IT Services

AP17 Ofcom and political advertising

That this annual conference instructs the NEC to lobby Ofcom to review its definition and prohibition of television and radio adverts they define as political. This proposition is being submitted because in September 2005 Ofcom banned television and radio adverts by the Make Poverty History coalition (representing nearly 500 voluntary groups).

IT Services

SOC note: SOC has rejected the following text at the end of the proposition as argument: "Eradication of poverty is surely more than a political issue. It is a moral and ethical issue which should not be starved of publicity."

AP18 Parliamentary committee

That this annual conference instructs the NEC to create a committee of MPs within Parliament who are sympathetic to BECTU's aims, and who can promote the union's interests.


AP19 Support of candidates in elections

That this annual conference notes that this Labour government has continued with policies that are directly contrary to those of BECTU.

Therefore this conference instructs BECTU's NEC to allow branches of the union to support candidates, in addition to Labour Party candidates, at local, regional, national and general elections so long as the candidates support the aims and objects of the union.

No BECTU body shall support in any way the British National Party (BNP) or any other fascist organisation.

London TV News
Radio & Music Production

AP20 Labour leader

That this annual conference instructs the NEC [to] encourage and then support prospective candidates for the Labour Party leadership who are sympathetic to the trade union movement.


AP21 Disaffiliation from the Labour Party

That this annual conference notes that in government the Labour Party has

  1. allowed all public services to be exploited for private gain, for example through outsourcing and privatisation;
  2. supported America in the illegal war and occupation of Iraq;
  3. broken the Warwick Agreement made with the trade unions to protect pensions and jobs.
Therefore this conference instructs the NEC to disaffiliate BECTU from the Labour Party.

London TV News
Radio & Music Production

Propositions rejected by the SOC

RP1 Venue of conference

That this annual conference instructs the NEC to choose a venue for the next annual conference (whose location is yet to be confirmed) based on the preference of delegates in the hall. As such the President should conduct a straw poll of:

  • previously visited locations: Liverpool, Manchester, Eastbourne, Bournemouth, London
  • previously suggested venues: Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Irish Republic
  • any other venues proposed and carried this year.


SOC's reason for rejection: obscure - a "straw poll" is defined as an unofficial test, whereas conference is defined in the rules as "a delegate assembly" where "all questions before conference shall be decided by the majority vote of the delegates present and voting".

RP2 Recruitment

That this annual conference requests [that] BECTU mounts a recruitment campaign targeting people who may not think they are entitled to be members of BECTU but [who] work within the audio-visual industry. All branches and members could be involved.

We bear in mind some people will be members of other unions but many will not be members of any union and might respond well to a colleague taking an interest in their welfare and future. We have an untapped reservoir of prospective members in our industry.

Film Artistes

SOC's reason for rejection: existing policy.

RP3 Presence in the workplace

That this annual conference instructs the union to maintain a more active presence in or within accessible distance of the workplace. There should be a small office in the major studios and mobile offices to service workers on location.

Hair & Makeup

SOC's reason for rejection: existing policy - cf. action taken by the NEC in response to remitted proposition 6/05.

RP4 Licence to practise

That this annual conference instructs the union to establish a licence to practise for all technical and craft grades, and to encourage Skillset to provide the appropriate training and assessment for those who work in the industry.

Hair & Makeup

SOC's reason for rejection: obscure - SOC recommends that the proposition be referred to the relevant divisions for clarification.

Last updated 5 February 2006