Policy propositions

Listed below are policy propositions submitted by Branches, accepted and rejected by the 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 2 (1999-2000) dated 31 January 2000. The closing date for such amendments is 1200 15 March 2000.

Words or phrases in [square brackets] represent typographical or grammatical corrections made by SOC to the originals.

Propositions accepted by the SOC

AP1 BECTU conference

That this annual conference instructs the NEC to investigate the potential for alternative and innovative conference formats, including for instance interactive workshop sessions, multimedia presentations and keynote speakers, aimed at stimulating more imaginative participation by attendees. The NEC should either report its conclusions to conference in 2001, or publish them to branches in advance and implement them at that conference.

North Wales Freelance

SOC note: The following text has been rejected as argument at the beginning of the proposition: "Conference believes the falling attendance of delegates, the disappointing range and quality of propositions, and its heavily bureaucratic nature have diminished the effectiveness of BECTU's annual conference."

AP2 Young members

That this annual conference calls on the NEC to act upon [proposition] 19/99 passed at least year's conference regarding the possible formation of some sort of Young Members Network or Forum. The aim of such a body should be to work for the recruitment, retention, representation and organisation of young people in our sector.

Film & Tape Editing

SOC note: The movers of AP2, AP3 and AP4 are urged to consider compositing those propositions

AP3 New Entrant and Graduate members' handbook

That this annual conference instructs the NEC to produce a handbook for New Entrant and Graduate members. This should include information about training within the industry; employment rights, especially concerning minimum pay and hours of work; and the structure and working practices of the union itself. This handbook should be put together with the fullest possible involvement of New Entrant and Graduate members through their branches and be available to members by the end of 2000. Once produced the handbook should automatically [be] sent to all relevant new members upon [enrolment].

New Entrants & Graduates

SOC note: The movers of AP2, AP3 and AP4 are urged to consider compositing those propositions

AP4 NUS and New Entrant/Graduate recruitment

That this annual conference instructs the NEC to establish an ongoing working relationship between BECTU and the National Union of Students in order to make sure that as many new entrants and graduates as possible are made aware of the union's existence and relevance. Appropriate publicity material such as posters should be produced; participation take place in relevant NUS conferences and events; and articles and advertisements be placed in NUS publications. This process should include the widest possible involvement of new entrant, graduate and other relevant members through their branches.

New Entrants & Graduates

SOC note: The movers of AP2, AP3 and AP4 are urged to consider compositing those propositions

AP5 On-line directory/employment service

That this annual conference asks the NEC to undertake a feasibility study into setting up an on-line directory/employment service which would allow freelance members to post their CVs on the site, with photographs and signposts to samples of their work if necessary, and which would allow employers free access to search those sites to meet their requirements. On completion of the study, if the results are positive, conference asks that implementation of such a service be undertaken with all due speed.

North West Freelance

AP6 Technology in BECTU

That this annual conference recognises that there is a need for this union's officials to be at least as membership-friendly as other communication and media unions. In the light of the massive increase in the use of mobile phones in the last year alone the NEC must ensure that National [Officials] and lay [officers] are available through this [medium] at appropriate times in order for BECTU to best serve its membership.

Bush House 2

AP7 Convergence

That this annual conference, in view of the recent merger between America On Line and [Time]-Warner, which is a major move in the convergence of computer services and film and television broadcasting, asks that a cross-divisional debate be held on the issues raised by convergence for all members, and for the future of BECTU itself, in a forum similar to that used to consider the Working Time Regulations and Fairness at Work legislation.

North West Freelance

AP8 Competitiveness with other unions

That this annual conference instructs the NEC to recognise that in many areas where there is joint recognition, BECTU is losing existing and potential members by having a higher subscription [than] competing unions, such as the NUJ. In acknowledging the problem the NEC must examine and propose solutions which make BECTU subscriptions both competitive and affordable to the low paid and, as a consequence, create a potential for income growth.

Bush House 2

AP9 Amalgamation with the NUJ

That this annual conference instructs the NEC to continue and expand talks with the NUJ on a possible merger. In so doing, the NEC is urged to raise awareness of the issue and consider the following measures against a backdrop of likely eventual amalgamation.

  1. If appropriate, setting up a committee with the objective of consulting with the membership at "grass roots" level
  2. Providing regular updates in the journal and letters to branches
  3. Examining and addressing the concerns of BECTU and NUJ members whose spheres of activity are far from the BECTU and NUJ common ground
  4. On carrying out the above, gauge the feeling of the membership. If and when it feels that the time is right, present a case for seeking amalgamation.

Bush House 2

SOC note: The following text has been rejected as argument at the end of the first sentence of the proposition: ", talks which commenced last year in reaction to the mood of the 1999 conference."

AP10 Pensions advice

That this annual conference, in view of the lack of any pensions scheme for freelances, the age profile of the union, and the difficulties many members have who have changed employment a number of times, asks that the NEC explores with urgency the possibility of independent individual pensions advice being made available to all freelance members as a service of the union. In addition, this conference asks that the NEC continue to explore the possibility of a freelance pension scheme, which would be available to all freelances, and report back to the next conference with their findings on such a scheme.

North West Freelance

AP11 Working Time Regulations

That this annual conference notes that the Working Time Regulations are worded in such a way that unscrupulous employers continue to demand excessive working hours and to deny workers their statutory breaks.

In particular the facility to have derogations on breaks adversely affects freelances and casuals, thereby making permanent employment vulnerable.

Accordingly this conference instructs the NEC to campaign in the TUC and Labour Party for:

  1. improvements to the Working Time Regulations
  2. more effective penalties
  3. collective legal action with the trade union able to pursue claims.

Northern Freelance

AP12 Production safety plans

That this annual conference welcomes BECTU's positive input [to] the recent work of the HSE Broadcasting and Performing Arts Joint Advisory Committee and its various working parties on production health and safety issues. However conference notes with concern that too many employers and production companies in this sector are still failing to prioritise health and safety or carry out their legal duties to protect the health, safety and welfare of their workforce. As a result they are continuing to put the lives of BECTU members and others at risk.

Conference believes that systematic approaches to production health and safety planning, risk assessment, monitoring and review procedures should be prioritised by employers and designers, and should be subject to full consultation with BECTU safety representatives and/or officials.

To this end, conference instructs the NEC to ask the union's National Health and Safety Committee and the officials concerned to press for the use of Production Safety Plans (or equivalent) by employers and production companies, and for effective consultation on all stages of planning, organisation, risk assessment, implementation, monitoring and review.

Conference also instructs the NEC to raise these issues with the Federation of Entertainment Unions and to seek to establish regular liaison between FEU affiliates to encourage the promotion and adoption of Production Safety Planning within the industry.

Conference asks the NEC to report back to the next BECTU annual conference on progress made on this matter.

Production & Management Support

AP13 NHS funding

That this annual conference notes the continued underfunding of the NHS.

We call upon the government to provide funds immediately to raise health spending to the European Union average. If there is not enough money in reserve, the top rate of income tax should be raised to meet the shortfall.

The government should scrap [Private Finance Initiatives]. Profit making should play no part in running the NHS.

BECTU should take an active lead in raising these demands in the union movement.

Film & Tape Editing

AP14 Members' health

That this annual conference will not tolerate the jeopardy [in] which the nations' health is being put as a result of the government's underfunding of the NHS, pensions and other welfare. The NEC is therefore instructed to seek every possible opportunity of supporting measures and groups which seek to impress on government the need to increase significantly funding of all social and welfare [programmes].

Bush House 2

SOC note: The movers of AP14 are urged to consider withdrawing the proposition in favour of AP13

AP15 Privatisation

That this annual conference deplores the government's continuation of Tory privatisation policies. Conference considers that PFI (Private Finance Initiatives) and PPP [(Public-Private Partnership)] schemes being used in areas like the NHS, London [Underground] and schools, etc., are nothing more than privatisation by another name; even in the wake of the Paddington rail disaster, public safety is being placed at risk with New Labour's plans to privatise Air Traffic Control and the Tube. Conference calls on the NEC to campaign vigorously against PFI and PPP inside the [Labour Party] and the TUC, to write a letter to [the Prime Minister] expressing the union's opposition, take this motion to the TUC and [Labour Party] conferences, and [give] support to campaigns or protests launched against PFI or PPP schemes.

Information Technology Services

SOC note SOC has rejected as argument the following text after "by another name;": "we are alarmed that"

AP16 Political affiliation

That this annual conference instructs the NEC to disaffiliate [from] the Labour Party.

Information Technology Services

AP17 Financial support for the Labour Party

That this annual conference instructs the NEC to withdraw financial support to the New Labour Party because of its pro-employer and anti-trade union stance.

Film Artistes

SOC note: The movers of proposition AP17 are urged to consider withdrawing it in favour of AP16

AP18 Affiliation to the Labour Party

That this annual conference instructs the NEC to reconsider its affiliation to the Labour Party in the light of the government's reluctance to support the campaign to fight the privatisation of BBC Resources Ltd. It should also explore the possibility of diverting more money to other political organisations in both the UK and Europe which it feels may represent better the union's interests in connection with maintaining good public service broadcasting. Most importantly, if affiliation can no longer be justified, the NEC should withdraw its affiliation at a time which achieves maximum media publicity.

Bush House 2

AP19 The minimum wage

That this annual conference is concerned at the proposals by the Labour government to freeze the minimum wage. Conference therefore calls upon BECTU to campaign through the TUC for a meaningful increase with the aim of achieving a minimum wage of £5 per hour.

Further, that a letter be sent from BECTU to the Prime Minister expressing our opposition to any such freeze on the minimum wage.

London Library & Archive

AP20 The minimum wage

That this annual conference condemns the New Labour government's decision to freeze the level of the minimum wage.

Conference agrees that BECTU publicly demand the minimum wage be raised immediately to a figure of £5.00 an hour with no exceptions.

Conference agrees that BECTU immediately campaign for this demand by:

  • Including the £5.00 per hour minimum wage in all wage demands where appropriate and organising industrial action to win it
  • Sending a letter of condemnation to [the Prime Minister]
  • Organising a protest of the next meeting of the Low Pay Commission
  • Organising a national demonstration in London calling on other trade unions and organisations to join with us.
Royal Opera House

SOC note: SOC has rejected as argument the following text beginning after the first sentence:

"This is an attack on working class living standards and a slap in the face to our young people.

The level of £3.60 itself was a derisory figure suited to the needs of business, not workers. Similarly, the decision not to increase the minimum wage has been taken in the interest of the bosses. Pensions and benefits rise each year so why not the minimum wage?

Conference notes:

  • That the rich continue to prosper with low tax rates
  • That the bosses continue to give themselves big pay rises
  • That the bosses continue to reap massive profits that pay shareholders regular dividends
A Guardian/ICM opinion poll showed 85% of people want the minimum wage to be increased."

SOC note: The movers of proposition AP20 are also urged to consider withdrawing it in favour of AP19.

AP21 Labour Candidate for London Mayor

That this annual conference notes that Proposition 7/99 was passed by an overwhelming majority at the last Conference in June 1999. The proposition called upon BECTU nationally "to support Ken Livingstone's fight to stop a stitch up of the selection of Labour's candidate for Mayor and to write to the headquarters of the London Region of the Labour Party supporting his right to stand." No letter was written. [Conference] notes that the General Secretary and the NEC have ignored both the spirit and the letter of the motion from the end of Conference through to November 1999 when Ken Livingstone was finally allowed to put his name forward.

[Conference] condemn[s] the General Secretary and the NEC for overriding the decision of Conference. The failure to write a letter as instructed undermines the fundamental principle of the accountability of the NEC and General Secretary to the membership through Conference.

This Conference instructs the General Secretary and the NEC to send a written apology to every BECTU member regretting the loss of confidence in the value of Conference that this failure has caused and pledging to resign should they ever again ignore the instructions of Conference.

Royal Opera House

SOC note: In the original the second and third sentences formed a separate second paragraph. SOC believes clarity is served by relocating the text as above.

AP22 Broadcasting regulation

That this annual conference agrees that broadcasting in Scotland should no longer be a reserved power to Westminster.

Scottish Television

AP23 The global animation industry

That this annual conference urges that BECTU proposes that [Media Entertainment International] hold a conference on the global animation industry. The conference would address the implications that this global industry has for the convergence of film, media and broadcasting industries.


SOC note: The movers of AP23 supplied the following text as argument supporting but not forming part of the proposition: "This is proposed due to the increasing pressure on UK Animation artists, producers and directors to farm work out to other countries due to their perceived competitiveness financially. The conference should seek to verify just how much value for money is being achieved in the light of long-term copyright implications and the ghettoisation of certain grades of Animation artists in particular countries."

AP24 Equitable remuneration right

That this annual conference urges that BECTU supports and campaigns for the payment of equitable remuneration due to Animation artists and other creatives in BECTU where this issue is not yet being directly addressed.


SOC note: The movers of AP24 supplied the following text as argument supporting but not forming part of the proposition: "This is proposed due to the increasing pressure on UK Animation artists, producers and directors to assign all rights despite the fact that this right is un-waivable."

AP25 Transfer of Undertakings Regulations

That this annual conference seeks a speedy revision of the TUPE regulations to include especially a redundancy option for those to be transferred which might be taken by those affected together with any attendant procedures relevant to their present conditions of service.

Information Technology Services

AP26 Payment on time

That this annual conference takes steps: to lobby [the] Labour government for new legislation covering those delinquent employers who do not pay their employees on time; to ensure that those employees who work under a temporary contract of employment have a legal right, not only in theory but also in practice, to be paid by the employer within 30 days, with particular reference to those employees who are also classified as self-employed for tax purposes, such as actors and artists in the entertainments industry; [so] that those employers who flout this proposed legislation will face effective late payment fines.

Film Artistes

SOC note: SOC has had to interpret punctuation in the original so as to present proposition AP26 as above. The following text has been rejected as argument at the end of the proposition: "[to] ensure that this government legislation is not ignored."

AP27 Design "pitching"

That this annual conference instructs the NEC to make arrangements for guidelines to be prepared, to prevent abuse by production companies of the design "pitching" process.

Art Department

AP28 Competent personnel

That this annual conference proposes the introduction of an approved list of competent Art Department personnel to ensure both safety in the workplace and quality of service.

Art Department

Propositions rejected by the SOC

RP1 Jubilee 2000

That this annual conference believes that the best way to celebrate this millennium year is with a landmark of justice - cancellation of the unpayable debts of the poorest countries under a fair and transparent system.

Conference resolves: to support the Jubilee 2000 campaign and affiliate to the Jubilee 2000 coalition; to encourage members and branches to affiliate to Jubilee 2000; to publicise the campaign in Stage Screen & Radio.

Central London OB Engineers

SOC's reason for rejection: received out of time

Typographical and grammatical corrections

Shown below are proposition number, correction inserted [in square brackets] by the SOC, followed by original wording.

AP2: [proposition] proposal

AP3: [be] blank; [enrolment] enrollement

AP6: [Officials] Officers; [officers] Officials; [medium] media

AP7: [Time] Tyne;

AP8: [than] to

AP12: [to] into

AP13: [Private Finance Initiatives] PFI

AP14: [in] to; [programmes] programs

AP15: [(Public-Private Partnership)] blank; [Underground] Tubes; [Labour Party] L.P.; [the Prime Minister] Tony Blair; [give] gives

AP16: [from] to

AP20: [the Prime Minister] Tony Blair

AP21: [Conference] It also; [Conference] condemn[s] We condemn

AP23: [Media Entertainment International] MEI

AP26: [the] this; [so] blank; [to] To

Last updated 8 February 2000