Proposed rule changes and policy propositions 2008

Listed on this page are proposed rule changes and 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 (2007-08) dated 7 February 2008. The closing date for amendments is 1200 on 20 March 2008.

Proposed rule changes accepted by the SOC

AR1 Rule 5(l)

Add at end of clause: "by all means considered appropriate by the National Executive Committee and to include the standards of conduct as set out in rule 24(f);"


add new rule 24(f) as follows, and re-letter existing clause (f) as clause (g): "Any person who is or becomes a member of an organisation which the National Executive Committee considers to be a fascist or racist organisation or who supports or circulates material or speaks on behalf of any organisation concerned with disseminating racist beliefs, attitudes or ideas or who undertakes actions against others (whether members or non-members) designed to discriminate on the grounds of sex, race, ethnic or national origin, religion, colour, class, caring responsibilities, marital status, sexuality, disability, age or other status or personal characteristic, shall be subject to the disciplinary procedures under these rules and may be expelled from the union."

Central London Programmes

SOC note: SOC has altered slightly the proposed placing of the intended new clause as more logical

AR2 Rule 29(a)

Add at end of clause:

"It shall also be competent for the branch committee, where the branch by-laws expressly permit, to use other means of consultation and communication, such as e-mail or post, to expedite rule 29(b) or to obtain consent by branch members to the re-election of the existing committee. Due regard must be given in such event to existing branch by-laws, to including at least as many members as would otherwise have been advised of the AGM, to avoiding the exclusion of any member from nomination and election to office, and to ensuring that the medium used is at least as secure as that which would prevail at an AGM."

BBC Cardiff

AR3 Rule 33(b)

In rule 33(b) delete "(iv) Laboratories" and re-number "London Production" and "Regional Production" accordingly;


in rule 31(a) delete "Laboratories (including non-broadcast audio-visual duplication),";

delete existing rule 31(j), and re-letter the subsequent clauses (k), (l) and (ll) accordingly;

re-letter existing rule 31(ll) as clause (l) and amend to read:

"There shall be a Film Artistes' subdivision and branch, and a Laboratories subdivision and branch, within the London Production division. Former members of the Film Artistes' Association and members organised in laboratories, audio-visual manufacturing and non-broadcast video/audio duplication shall be members of the respective subdivision and branch. The National Executive Committee shall, in consultation with the relevant divisions and subdivisions, make appropriate arrangements for the organisation and representation of background artistes and laboratory workers based outside the London and South East area.";

in rule 39 delete "Laboratories,"

National Executive Committee

AR4 Rule 31(d)

Insert new rule 31(d) as follows, and re-letter existing clauses (d) to (o) accordingly:

"A paid-up member shall be entitled to request sight of the minutes of the meeting of any divisional, subdivisional, branch or area committee, provided

  1. the minutes have been adopted by the committee concerned;
  2. the request gives reasonable notice, is made in writing to an authorised paid official, and clearly specifies the meeting concerned; and
  3. there is no objection from any other member named in or identifiable from the minutes.

Where the request is granted the member may view the minutes in the presence of an authorised paid official. These provisions do not apply to minutes (if any) of the Disciplinary or Appeals Committee of the union, when application must be made to the General Secretary who shall allow or refuse it at his/her sole discretion. The right of inspection of any minutes is at all times subject to the duty of confidentiality and the Data Protection Principles."

Film Artistes

AR5 Rule 40

This package would provide for biennial conferences overlapping with the two-year NEC period of office, i.e.

  • 2008 NEC election, last annual conference
  • 2009 First biennial conference
  • 2010 NEC election
  • 2011 Second biennial conference
  • 2012 NEC election
  • and so on.

To be presented to the 2008 rules revision conference as an indivisible package subject to non-wrecking amendment. Words in this font are commentary and do not form part of the proposed rule alterations.

Rule 40 [title]

Delete "Annual" and insert "Biennial"

Rule 40(a)

Delete "1993" and insert "2009", and delete "annual" and insert "biennial"

Rule 40(c)

In first sentence delete "annual" and insert "biennial", and in third sentence delete "annual"

Rule 40(d)

In first sentence delete "annual"

Delete second sentence and insert: "Commencing with 2009, conference shall be convened biennially in April, May or June."

Rule 40(h)

Delete "annual"

Consequentially, in rule 3(a), (c) and (d), rule 9(a)(i) and (e), rule 19, rule 20, rule 26(a), rule 27(f), rule 31(b), (e) and (m) [divisional conferences also held biennially, but additional special conferences to remain possible under clause (n)], rule 32(a), rule 33(a), (l), (o) and (v), rule 38(h), 41(a), (b) and (d), rule 42(a), (b), (d) and (e), rule 42(f)(i), (i)(ii) and (j)(i), rule 45(b), and Appendix D by-laws 8(a) and 9:

delete "annual" or "annually" and insert "biennial" or "biennially", as the case may be, in each instance relating to conference

Further, in rule 33(m)

delete "to annual conference" and add at end "which shall be published annually to branches and, in respect of both of the preceding years, in the National Executive Committee's report to the biennial conference." [annual reports, financial reports and balance sheets still to be prepared]

Likewise, in rule 34(c)

delete "to branches not less than fourteen days prior to annual conference meetings" and insert "annually to branches and, in respect of both of the preceding years, in the National Executive Committee's report to the biennial conference" [annual reports, financial reports and balance sheets still to be prepared]

and in rule 42(f)(i)

add at end "for each of the years since the previous conference." [annual reports, financial reports and balance sheets still to be prepared]

Furthermore, in rule 45(a)

delete "at intervals of three years commencing with 1993" and insert "every four years commencing with 2009" [rules revision conference every second biennial conference]

North Wales Freelance

Proposed rule changes rejected by the SOC

RR1 [No rule number specified]

The union shall publish its policy motions passed by conference past and present in a list form on the policy section of the union website.

Radio & Music Production

SOC's reason for rejection: no rule number specified.

Propositions accepted by the SOC

AP1 Venue for conference

That this annual conference recognises that BECTU has many members across the nations of the UK but has not held conference outside England for well over a decade despite previous propositions urging the NEC to consider such locations. This conference instructs the NEC to give more serious consideration to a cost-effective venue outside England for the next conference whose location is yet to be settled.

BBC Cardiff

AP2 Information

That this annual conference instructs the NEC to make minutes of its meetings available to BECTU members online.

Post Production & Facilities

AP3 Political Fund

That this annual conference believes that the Political Fund could be better used as a tool for furthering BECTU's aims in parliament and elsewhere. It instructs the NEC to discuss with the divisions details of Political Fund activities over the past five years, whether there is scope to increase or broaden these, and whether an increase in members' Political Fund contributions is indicated.

Post Production & Facilities

AP4 Members working on party political and party election broadcasts

That this annual conference instructs the NEC to draw up a clear set of guidelines which fully explain the actions which members should take when facing ethical decisions while working on party political and party election broadcasts. The guidelines should clearly state what actions members can and cannot take and what support BECTU will and will not give. These guidelines will be published on the BECTU website and in the journal as well as other appropriate places at times when such advice is likely to be needed. These guidelines should be pan-BECTU and will replace the less formal and less thorough ad hoc advice generally given during past elections.

BBC Cardiff

AP5 Participatory democracy

That this annual conference notes that secure member access to the BECTU website has the potential to free parts of the democratic process from scheduled meetings, increase overall activity and allow participation over time from home or workplace. This conference believes this approach would encourage greater participation by membership and strengthen the union and instructs the NEC to assess the feasibility of setting up the facilities to do this and report back to all divisions.

Post Production & Facilities

AP6 Representation of overseas members

That this annual conference notes that there are lots of people working overseas for British media companies on lower wages and worse conditions than colleagues in the UK. Many would like to join BECTU but are not encouraged to do so because the union can't offer them any services.

Conference instructs the NEC to investigate the possibility of setting up a new membership category that can provide some benefits to overseas members.


SOC note: SOC expresses concern about the ambiguity in this proposition in that it appears, but does not make clear, that the overseas workers concerned are those locally employed and not on secondment from the UK, and if so what implications their BECTU membership would have for relevant local trade unions.

AP7 Unpaid hours

That this annual conference deplores the increasing incidence of production companies expecting everything to be ready when they turn up, and refusing to pay for prep and wrap hours outwith the production times, sometimes leading to erosion of actual breaks between duties and infringements of the Working Time Directive.

This conference calls on the NEC to take vigorous action to eliminate these abuses of the dedication of members to their jobs, and to ensure proper recognition of the need for adequate prep, wrap - and, where applicable, travel time - to be included in paid hours.

Scottish Freelance

AP8 European model contracts

That this annual conference supports the initiative of IMAGO [the European Federation of Cinematographers] to develop pan-European model contracts.


AP9 Funding of public service broadcasting

That this annual conference instructs the NEC to lobby the new Culture Secretary [and] BECTU's MP and MEPs group to ensure cable, satellite and digital channels and suppliers help fund public service broadcasting.

This would be aimed at ensuring all organisations that benefit commercially from licences to broadcast on digital, cable or satellite in the UK help fund terrestrial public service broadcasting and to stop existing public funding being redirected to fill this gap.

Writers Producers Directors

AP10 Union-wide broadcasting policy

That this annual conference instructs the NEC to produce plans for an inter-divisional committee to coordinate union-wide broadcasting policy, in consultation with affected divisions in time for consideration at the next annual conference.

Writers Producers Directors

AP11 Commission for Labour Rights

That this annual conference instructs the NEC to lobby the Government, through the TUC and its MPs group to set up a Commission for Labour Rights.

This would proactively check that rights of employed and self-employed workers are respected and promote and enforce company transparency on profitability towards its employed and self-employed workers. This could also extend towards smaller sub-contractors to avoid a squeeze on pay, conditions, transparency and health and safety, where appropriate.

The commission could also promote, support and enforce measures to ensure workforce representation in companies without recognised trade unions, on pay, conditions and health and safety - to proactively promote as level a playing field of best-practice work conditions as possible and warn on measures which may lead to severe job losses or production moving abroad.

Writers Producers Directors

SOC note: SOC expresses concern about the lack of clarity in this proposition, in particular the conflict between 'proactive' state-sponsored promotion of workers' interests and the role (and very existence) of trade unions.

AP12 Hands Off Venezuela

That this annual conference agrees to affiliate [BECTU] to the Hands Off Venezuela Campaign.

Writers Producers Directors

AP13 Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

That this annual conference recognises that following devolution responsibility for education, economic development and other devolved issues in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland now reside[s] with the Welsh Assembly Government, the Scottish Parliament and the Northern Ireland Government respectively. Conference calls on BECTU to ensure that formal responses to consultations on issues that affect the working lives and career development opportunities of BECTU members across all four countries within the UK are properly addressed, and that sufficient time and resources are available to respond effectively to important policy documents.

South Wales Freelance

AP14 Freelance fairs

That this annual conference recognises and applauds the success of BECTU's freelance fairs held in London, Bristol and Manchester. Conference proposes that BECTU provides the necessary financial and human resources required to deliver an equally successful freelance fair to be held in Cardiff during 2008/9.

South Wales Freelance

AP15 Break the link with Labour, overturn the anti-union laws

[This conference notes:

  1. That the world is in the grip of a global economic crisis, leading to an increase in competition between multinational corporations over access to profitable markets and sources of cheap raw materials, which in turn is leading to an increase in wars, such as the war in Iraq, which is a war to control the vast oil wealth of the Middle East;
  2. That the increasing inability of even the rich imperialist states to pay for decent social provision at home is inevitably leading to further attacks on the wages, conditions and social wage of workers in Britain;
  3. That all the 'anti-terror' legislation introduced in the last few years has in practice been aimed, not at 'foreign terrorists', but at British citizens who are protesting against either war abroad or attacks on living standards at home - such as Brian Haw or Walter Wolfgang, for example;
  4. That the Labour party has proved beyond any shadow of doubt its loyalty to the interest of British corporations and the protection of their profits, and to this end has shown itself willing to commit war crimes, such as the slaughter of well over a million innocent Iraqis, to attack civil liberties of British workers, to dismantle and privatise British public services, from health and education to the mail and broadcasting, and to use 'anti-terror' and 'asylum' legislation to whip up racist hysteria and use these as a cover for persecuting and scapegoating sections of the British working class, especially muslims;
  5. That the anti-union legislation brought in by the Conservatives and kept by Labour was drawn up to intimidate and criminalise any really organised fight back against these attacks by the workers of Britain;
  6. That much of the successful action taken by millions of French workers against attacks on their pay and conditions was officially 'illegal' (as were the walkouts by British Airways baggage handlers and the refusal of Daily Star workers to print a particularly racist spread), but that the strength of their unity made this fact irrelevant;
  7. That any remaining illusions our members might have had in the union's ability to 'influence' Labour via our affiliation have been finally shattered by the farce of the recent licence fee consultation.

This conference believes:

  1. That given the above conditions, it is imperative for all trade unions to prepare themselves and their members for a serious fight against further encroachment on pay, conditions, pensions etc, and to defend services such as health, education, the postal service and public broadcasting;
  2. That any serious fight against the ongoing attacks on workers' living standards must include fighting against the Labour party, which is a party that represents the interests of big business;
  3. That remaining affiliated to Labour not only hampers this union's ability to fight against attacks on our pay and conditions, but also implicates our members in the war crimes of the Labour government;
  4. That unjust anti-worker legislation must be overturned, and that the only way to overturn the present anti-union legislation is to defy it en masse.]

[That] This [annual] conference resolves:

  1. To withdraw all funding from the Labour party and cease this union's political affiliation with immediate effect;
  2. To use all means at the union's disposal to fight against further attacks on pay, pensions etc, even if to be effective means to defy the anti-union laws;
  3. To coordinate with other unions to build a mass campaign to defy the anti-union laws and protect the pay and conditions of all workers in Britain.

Radio & Music Production

SOC note: SOC has rejected as excessive argument all of this proposition except the final paragraph. SOC warns that omnibus model resolutions of such length take the form of manifestos rather than propositions, and are not addressed to conference in the spirit of rule 42(g). The points made in the deleted paragraphs may of course be made when the proposition is moved at conference, subject to speakers' time limits.

AP16 Arts and theatre funding

That this annual conference calls on the NEC to make representation to the Arts Council of England to ensure they have a clear and transparent arts and theatre funding policy.


Propositions rejected by the SOC

RP1 Defending the BBC

That this annual conference notes that the BBC is under attack from a number of vested interests, and has a set of managers who are unable or unwilling to stand up for the Corporation effectively in public.

Conference instructs the NEC to set up a meeting with its cross-party committee of MPs and work on a campaign to defend public service broadcasting.


SOC's reason for rejection: existing policy

RP2 Half-day deals

That this annual conference acknowledges that there should be no such thing as a half-day deal for Hair & Make-up.

Hair & Make-up

SOC's reason for rejection: more advantageously dealt with by remission to the London Production division under rule 42(h)

RP3 Qualifications

That this annual conference welcomes the progress being made towards workable qualifications for some grades and encourages all branches to participate in the efforts to produce standards and qualifications for all grades.


SOC's reason for rejection: existing policy

Last updated 6 February 2008