Policy propositions

Listed below are policy propositions submitted by Branches and the NEC (National Executive Committee), 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 (2000-01) dated 5 February 2001. The closing date for such amendments is 1200 on 21 March 2001.

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

Propositions accepted by the SOC

AP1 Data Protection Act 1998

That this annual conference approves the following alterations to rule submitted by the NEC under rule 45(b):

Rule 7(b)

Delete "Such data will be used by the union only for such purposes as are specified in its Data Protection registration." and insert: "Members agree to the processing of data by the union including data as to whether or not they are members of the union for the purposes of furthering its objectives in accordance with these rules."

Rule 7(d)

In last sentence delete "register computer records" and insert "process membership data"

National Executive Committee

AP2 Subscriptions

That this annual conference approves the following alterations to rule submitted by the NEC under rule 9(e):

Rule 9(a)

Re-letter rule 9(a) as rule 9(a)(i)

Rule 9(aa)

Re-letter rule 9(aa) as rule 9(a)(ii)

Delete existing rule 9(aa) [proposed rule 9(a)(ii)] in its entirety and insert: "No member paying subscriptions under subclause (i) above shall be required to pay more than £400 per annum with effect from 1 January 2002."

Rule 9(b)(i)

Delete in its entirety and re-letter existing rule 9(b)(ii) as rule 9(b)(i)

Rule 9(b)(ii) [proposed rule 9(b)(i)]

Delete in its entirety and insert:

"With effect from 1 January 2002, members paying subscriptions by direct debit or standing order shall pay subscriptions according to the following scale:

Gross annual earnings Subscription payable
monthly annually
introductory offer* £10.00 £120.00
£12,501-£15,000** £11.25 £135.00
£15,001-£17,500 £12.50 £150.00
£17,501-£20,000 £14.58 £175.00
£20,001-£22,500 £16.66 £200.00
£22,501-£25,000 £18.75 £225.00
£25,001-£27,500 £20.83 £250.00
£27,501-£30,000 £22.92 £275.00
over £30,000 £25.00 £300.00

*for first year of membership only

**or, in this band only, one per cent of earnings where a member provides evidence that this is a lower amount"

Rule 9(bb)(i)

Delete in its entirety and re-letter existing rule 9(bb)(ii) as rule 9(b)(ii) and existing rule 9(bb)(iii) as rule 9(b)(iii)

Rule 9(bb)(iii) [proposed rule 9(b)(iii)]

Delete in its entirety and insert:

"With effect from 2002, and every third year thereafter, a member paying subscriptions according to the scale set out in subclause (i) above, other than at the maximum rate in that scale, whose subscription has not increased in the two year period prior to the effective date, shall be deemed to have moved to the next higher band of the scale. The member shall be given advance notice in writing of the increased subscription thus payable by him/her, and if appropriate may submit evidence of his/her earnings to show why the increase should not apply."

Rule 9(d)

After "defined in clause (a) above," delete "annually, half-annually, quarterly, monthly or weekly,"

Rule 9(f)

Delete "clauses (b) or (bb) above" and insert "clause (b) above"

National Executive Committee

SOC note: The SOC has received the following explanatory memorandum from the General Secretary regarding the following two propositions, AP3 and AP4:

"The National Executive Committee has submitted two resolutions regarding the manner in which BECTU's President is elected. These have been submitted at this time to comply with an order issued by the Certification Officer in respect of the election of BECTU's President.

"The NEC are appealing the decision of the Certification Officer and the Employment Appeal Tribunal will hear the appeal on the 10 April. If the appeal is upheld the decision of the Certification Officer in respect of how we elect our President becomes redundant and the NEC will wish to withdraw both propositions. If our appeal is rejected, the NEC will wish to decide which of the two propositions it should put to conference. It will not want both propositions to go forward."

AP3 Election of President [alternative A]

That this annual conference approves the following alterations to rule submitted by the NEC under rule 45(b):

Rule 33(b)

Delete "clause (h)(iv) below" and insert "clause (h)(i)-(iv) below"

Delete "The National Executive Committee shall elect the President, Vice-President and Treasurer from amongst its members." and insert: "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."

Rule 33(g)

After "Should, for any cause whatsoever, a vacancy occur among the" insert "divisional"

After "In the event of there being no such candidate," insert "or should for any cause whatsoever a vacancy occur for the position of President,"

After "election of the National Executive Committee" insert "or President."

Rule 33(h)(i)

Add at end: "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."

Rule 33(h)(iv)

Add at end: "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."

National Executive Committee

AP4 Election of President [alternative B]

That this annual conference approves the following alterations to rule submitted by the NEC under rule 45(b):

Rule 33(b)

Delete "clause (h)(iv) below" and insert "clause (h)(i)-(iv) below"

After "from amongst its members." insert "The President, who shall not by virtue of holding that position be a voting member of the National Executive Committee, shall not hold that position for more than thirteen months, nor have held that position in the preceding twelve months."

Consequentially, in Appendix C, by-law 20, after "elected members" delete all down to and including "members of the NEC" and insert "present and eligible to vote, who"

National Executive Committee

SOC note: SOC may recommend to conference that it go into committee in a special rules session to discuss the above rule change propositions. Branches are reminded that a two-thirds majority is necessary to approve changes to rule, whereas a simple majority will suffice in respect of ordinary propositions.

AP5 Head Office

That this annual conference recommends that the right place for the head office is at the present location, and not at Clapham, as has been suggested.

Production Management Support

AP6 Financial accountability

That this annual conference instructs the NEC to be fully open and accountable to conference by justifying all BECTU staff pay rises which are substantially above inflation.

Bush House 2

SOC note: SOC has rejected a sentence following the above as obscure (ambiguous): "This report should take into account the conference tradition of the NEC recommending restraint in connection with propositions involving substantial expenditure."

AP7 Increasing public awareness of trade unions

That this annual conference recognises that there is a need to increase the public profile of trade unions in Britain. To achieve this, BECTU should encourage the TUC, using whatever channels it sees appropriate, to embark on a memorable national TV advertising campaign similar to that organised recently by Unison.

Should it be necessary, BECTU should also be willing to raise its profile by being one of the sponsors of the campaign if the NEC feels appropriate.

Bush House 2

SOC note: SOC has rejected a final sentence in the above as existing policy: "It should also publicise within its membership campaigns mounted by the TUC."

AP8 Graduate membership

That this annual conference instructs the NEC to set in motion a system of actively publicising BECTU in the NUS and all universities to ensure that graduates wishing to enter our industry are fully aware of the existence of BECTU, what we do and how to join the Graduates branch.

Graduates & New Entrants

AP9 BECTU website

That this annual conference instructs the NEC to take immediate steps to upgrade the BECTU website.

As the principal union in the broadcasting, entertainment and multimedia industry, BECTU should have a website worthy of its status, with a content which maximises the opportunities as a means of recruitment and employment, and reflects the national and regional aspect of the organisation.

Featuring leading-edge technology and administered by a dedicated webmaster, among its provisions it should include:

  1. up-to-date information on agreements and legislation;

  2. on-line membership application to aid recruitment;

  3. on-line Crewfinder (or members' directory) to enhance the employment opportunities for freelance members;

  4. interactive notice-boards where National Officials can post information relative to specific divisions and issues (e.g. training, health and safety, etc.) and where members can exchange information, or where employers or members can post job vacancies.

South Wales Freelance

AP10 BECTU's competitiveness

That this annual conference calls upon the NEC to recognise that BECTU is losing members to other unions, such as the NUJ, in job categories where joint recognition exists and to take urgent action in the most appropriate manner to stem this loss of members by ensuring that BECTU's subscriptions become competitive.

Bush House 2

AP11 Minimum wage

That this annual conference instructs the NEC to support all efforts to further improve the minimum wage in the UK.

Bush House 2

AP12 Working week

That this annual conference applauds the French government's decision to adopt a 35-hour week and instructs the NEC to put BECTU at the forefront of a campaign to introduce similar laws in the UK which will improve the work/life balance.

Bush House 2

AP13 Commissioning editors

That this annual conference recognises the ever-increasing interference in the creative process of the commissioning editors, particularly in Channel Four. This practice is well beyond their remit and has a direct effect on the terms and conditions of BECTU members across the grades as it has a knock-on effect on the already tight budgets as set by the finance departments.

We call upon the NEC to initiate a high level discussion with Channel Four and other broadcasters to seek to end this pernicious practice.

Post Production & Facilities

AP14 Production standards

That this annual conference expresses its concern that budgets for multimedia productions and digital channels have been driven to a level that is seriously affecting production standards and quality.

Furthermore, the production process is subject to pressures that are detrimentally affecting working conditions such as health and safety.


AP15 Pre-production rights

That this annual conference urge that BECTU take issue with relevant organisations and authorities with regard to the increasing expectation that individuals contribute to pre-production outlay and expenditure at their own expense. Due to copyright implications BECTU should ensure that members' rights are properly protected by relevant collecting societies and agents during preliminary discussions and pre-production periods of activity. Clear ownership of rights needs to be established during this time and users of preliminary works should be paid accordingly.


AP16 Communications White Paper

That this annual conference opposes and rejects the policies laid out in the government's Communications Reform White Paper which encourage further concentration of media ownership, and which also fail to maintain and strengthen public service obligations and the quality and diversity of television broadcasting. Conference calls upon the union to campaign for the re-opening of the consultation period for the issues and policies raised by the White Paper and for an independent public inquiry into the future of television and radio broadcasting. The work of the inquiry shall be to inform and influence policy discussions around the Communications White Paper.

Camera Department

AP17 E-mail interception

That this annual conference opposes changes to the Official Secrets Act and other measures that attempt to curtail civil liberties by the wholesale interception of personal electronic communications.

Camera Department

AP18 Rail safety

That this annual conference instructs the NEC to pledge its support to the rail unions in their efforts to improve safety on Britain's railways. This conference also calls for Tube privatisation to be abandoned and for the national network to be re-nationalised.

Bush House 2

AP19 Anti trade union laws

That this annual conference instructs the NEC to apply pressure wherever and whenever appropriate to achieve a modification of [the] UK legislation which severely restricts the ability of union members to take legal industrial action on points of principle such as contracting out and privatisations.

Bush House 2

SOC note: SOC has inserted the word in square brackets

AP20 Labour Party affiliation

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

Bush House 2

AP21 Political Fund

[That this annual] conference notes:

  1. The failure of Tony Blair's New Labour Government to defend working class people and the interests of trade unionists.

  2. The growing support for candidates and groups that more closely represent BECTU policy and the interests of BECTU members, such as Ken Livingstone, the Socialist Alliances and the Scottish Socialist Party.

Conference resolves:

  1. That political fund money (other than affiliation fees to the Labour Party nationally and regionally) should be spent on candidates and campaigns that accord more closely with BECTU policies.

  2. Branches should be allowed to give money to groups and political organisations whose aims accord more closely with BECTU's aims and objectives.

Branches should not be allowed to give money to organisations and political parties that are in direct opposition to the aims and objectives of BECTU.

BBC IT Services

SOC note: SOC has inserted the words in square brackets in the above proposition

AP22 British Sign Language

That this annual conference instructs the NEC to urge the UK government to bring forward the necessary legislation to make British Sign Language (BSL) an official language of the UK to rank alongside English, Welsh and Scottish Gaelic, in view of the stated commitment to equal opportunities by the BBC and other broadcasters.

Kingswood Warren

AP23 Stakeholder pensions

That this annual conference calls upon the NEC to use BECTU's political influence to argue for an amendment to the Stakeholder Pension legislation to oblige employers to make contributions to employees' pensions.

As the scheme stands there is no such obligation, which discriminates unfairly between freelance and permanently employed members.

Film Lab North

AP24 Age discrimination

That this annual conference requests that the NEC mounts a campaign across all divisions of BECTU to highlight the issues connected with discrimination on the grounds of age and to lobby for legislation parallel to that of the sex and race discrimination acts to deter employers who make use of ageist employment practices.


Propositions rejected by the SOC

RP1 General Officer elections

That this annual conference instructs the NEC to organise elections for the posts of President, Vice-President and Treasurer of BECTU by the whole membership. Nominations should be made by branches. There should be a single ballot for NEC members and this should be on a transferable vote system for the purpose of ensuring that sufficient numbers of NEC members are elected for each division in addition to the General Officers.

Researchers & Writers

SOC's reason for rejection: not consonant with rule 33 (the proposition seeks to instruct the NEC "to organise elections" rather than to draw up and present the required alterations to rule)

RP2 Pay of BECTU Officials

Conference notes:

That BECTU Supervisory officials, following the recruitment of a new Finance Officer earlier this year, decided their own pay should be raised to the same level, and also the relatively modest pay rises "won" across most sectors of the union in this and recent years.

In order to make such processes more accountable to the membership,

Conference resolves:

That the annual pay increases of BECTU national officials should be limited to the average annual increase won for members in the section of the union which the official is responsible for. Any exception to this rule may only take place with the agreement of BECTU annual conference.

In the case of officials without specific areas of responsibility their annual increase should be not be above RPI, unless agreed by BECTU annual Conference.

BBC IT Services

SOC's reason for rejection: not consonant with rule 33(q)(i) - the branch is recommended to support or amend accepted proposition AP6

RP3 Services

That this annual conference urge that a formal complaints procedure be adopted for members who have grievances over BECTU's service to them, additionally BECTU should establish a code of practice on service delivery for their members.


SOC's reason for rejection: existing policy (rule 42(g)(iii)) (cf. the first part of rule 26(a) and rule 5 passim)

RP4 Working time

That this annual conference welcomes the progress made towards winning holiday entitlement for freelance members, industrially through PACT and legally through the European Court; calls upon the NEC to encourage the appropriate divisions now to focus on long working days and breaches of rest breaks, as this is still a major health and safety problem in film and TV production.

Make-up & Hair

SOC's reason for rejection: existing policy (rule 42(g)(iii)) (cf. proposition 18/00)

RP5 Standby construction crew

That this annual conference instigate the proposal that all television programmes and films have a full complement at all times of construction standby crew. This consists of a stagehand, painter, rigger and carpenter. These are the only people who are competent for set maintenance, removal and revamping. Any other personnel do not have the necessary training or health and safety awareness to carry out these duties in a competent manner.


SOC's reason for rejection: more advantageously dealt with by remission to the relevant divisions (rule 42(h))

RP6 Support for the Labour Party

Conference notes:

  1. Despite a massive Commons majority and popular support, the Labour government has done little to meet the aspirations of those who elected it in 1997.

  2. Instead, Labour has continued with Tory policies in many areas such as "welfare reform" (cuts in benefit and harassment of the unemployed), oppression of asylum seekers, draconian law and order, and above all unbridled belief in the free market and privatisation, including the a highly pro-business white paper on Broadcasting.

  3. The Labour government has also shown to be just as prone to sleaze and corruption as the Tories.

  4. Tony Blair and the government have presided over a massive crisis in manufacturing (in the car industry in particular) offering little in the way of solutions or help for the communities affected.

Conference resolves:

To instruct the NEC to disaffiliate BECTU from the Labour Party.

BBC IT Services

SOC's reason for rejection: excessive argument not addressed to conference (rule 42(g)(iv)) - the branch is recommended to support or amend accepted proposition AP20

RP7 Employment legislation

That this annual conference takes steps:

to instruct the NEC to lobby the Labour government

  • for new legislation covering the employment of part-time workers in the entertainments industry, so that the employer has a legal responsibility to a duty of care when employing a third party (agent), in order to offer Background Supporting Artists some protection from abuse by the unscrupulous agent;

  • to repeal section 9 of the DTI Agency Standards Act of 1973. Clause 9 has had the effect of covering up the findings of a complaint, therefore protecting the agent at a cost to the worker;

  • to publish on the Internet the DTI's adjudications following a complaint from an employee (working under a temporary contract of employment) about a third party (agent);

  • for (effective) licensing of agents (in the entertainments industry only), also, that agent's details should appear on a DTI website together with details of any complaint adjudications for all to see;

to instruct the NEC to lobby the employers

  • to get employers to sign up to a (voluntary) Agent's Code of Conduct, and to employ only agents who also sign up;

to instruct the NEC to take legal action if necessary, under the Human Rights Act

  • only if the government and the employers were not prepared to take action to ensure the protection of the part-time worker in the entertainments industry against the unscrupulous agent.

Film Artistes

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

RP8 Opposing multinational corporations

Conference notes:

  1. The disastrous effects of neo-liberal (free market) policies, which have led to the privatisation of our transport system and utilities and the partial privatisation of our health, education and council housing. The effect of these has not been greater efficiency, but rather growing chaos, worsened safety, job losses, worse conditions for the workforce and a redirecting of wealth into the coffers of the multi-national corporations.

  2. Elsewhere in the world neo-liberal policies, imposed by the World Bank and the IMF, have had even more devastating consequences. Over 1.3 billion people now try to live on less than $1 a day. Most crippling of all is the debt crisis, where a country like Senegal spends 7% of GDP on debt repayment, 2.6% on health and 3.7% on education. Highly publicised debt reduction programmes have had little more than a cosmetic effect.

  3. Against this background there has been a global groundswell against neo-liberal policies and the huge corporations that benefit from them. This revolt has taken many forms including a renewal of the environmental movement, increased opposition to privatisation, massive anti-debt protests, such as Seattle, Nice and Prague and opposition to child labour.

  4. These "anti-capitalist" movements are the natural allies of the trade union movement - we are all victims of the corporations. For example, at the moment post workers face privatisation. These movements bring youth, energy and enthusiasm - the labour movement has numbers, organisation and unparalleled experience of day to day struggles against the effects of neo-liberalism. An example of such an alliance was shown in Seattle in 1999, where US trade unionists, including postal workers, made common ground with environmentalists, to the benefit of both, and again in Nice, France, in December 2000.

Conference resolves:

  1. To encourage all BECTU branches to send a delegation to the anti-debt protests at the G8 summit in Genoa, 20 - 22 July 2001. These protests are supported by Drop the Debt, the successor to Jubilee 2000.

  2. BECTU should support the call for a conference this Autumn, on the theme of opposition to neo-liberalism and the Corporations, and should publicise this to branches.

  3. BECTU should support conferences, protests and initiatives at local level aimed at curbing the power of the multi-national corporations and privateers.

BBC IT Services

SOC's reason for rejection: outside the objects of the union (rule 42(g)(ii))

RP9 Stop the racist scapegoating of asylum seekers

Conference notes:

  1. The racist abuse being aimed at asylum seekers by sections of the press.

  2. The UN has condemned both the Tories & the New Labour government's attacks on asylum seekers.

  3. TGWU leader Bill Morris' statement accusing government ministers of creating "a climate of fear" and calling for a campaign against the "degrading, divisive and stigmatising" asylum voucher system.

  4. The TUC's statement condemning the press and government, calling for "support,
  5. The Campaign to Defend Asylum Seekers was set up in May 2000 and organised a 8,000 strong demonstration the following month.

Conference believes:

  1. That Britain is not a "soft touch". This country has the harshest asylum regime in Western Europe and takes less refugees per head of population than Germany. Switzerland, the Netherlands, Finland, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Ireland, Denmark and Canada.

  2. That the racist abuse in the press and by politicians is directly leading to an increase in racist attacks.

  3. That job losses are not caused by refugees, but by the profit motivated concerns of companies like BMW, Vauxhall and Barclays bank.

Conference resolves:

  1. To support the statement launched by a number of prominent journalists, anti-racists and others and to publicise it as widely as possible, including to all BECTU branches.

  2. To affiliate BECTU to the Committee to Defend Asylum [Seekers.]

  3. The General Secretary should call on the TUC to call a national demonstration as a matter of urgency in support of all those are seeking asylum, demanding that the government and the press stop their racist scapegoating of asylum seekers.

BBC IT Services

SOC's reason for rejection: outside the objects of the union (rule 42(g)(ii))

RP10 Roving H&S Representatives

We propose that BECTU support the introduction of roving H&S representatives, with the authority to issue prohibition notices to employers. Further to this, we propose that BECTU campaign with the HSE, HSC and other enforcing agencies to secure legislation to introduce roving H&S representatives in all sections of our industry where BECTU has members. This includes bringing pressure to bear on organisations to give access to roving H&S representatives in workplaces under their control.

Royal Opera House

SOC's reason for rejection: received out of time (rule 42(i)(i))

RP11 Probationary periods for new staff

We propose that BECTU ensure that the maximum period of probation for workers in all industries represented by BECTU is thirteen weeks.

Royal Opera House

SOC's reason for rejection: received out of time (rule 42(i)(i))

RP12 Non-union contract staff

We propose that BECTU work with other trade unions to ensure that non-unionised contract workers, based in companies that have a recognition agreement with BECTU, are organised collectively by a trade union in all matters relating to their employment.

Royal Opera House

SOC's reason for rejection: received out of time (rule 42(i)(i))

RP13 Length of the working week

We propose that BECTU adopt a policy of campaigning and negotiating a basic working week of thirty-five hours for all BECTU members, with no loss of pay.

Royal Opera House

SOC's reason for rejection: received out of time (rule 42(i)(i))

Last updated 4 February 2001