The Media and Entertainment Union

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BECTU for freelances

BECTU is a trade union which represents a community of workers, in a wide variety of roles (excluding actors and musicians) across the media and entertainment industries. BECTU membership currently stands at approximately 24,000.

There are many more people working in our areas who stand to benefit from what BECTU offers it members.

The union is effective in its representation of both staff (employees) and freelance workers: that means full-time staff, part-time staff, project workers, contract workers, freelances, casuals and dailies.

UK law confirms the right of all workers, whatever their contractual status, to belong to a trade union of their choice. If you are freelance in the media and entertainment sectors, we invite you to join us

By joining us you get the benefit of our support for you as an individual together with access to a range of benefits and services including Crewbus and subsidised public liability insurance. Your membership also enables us to be more effective generally in the promotion of our members' interests.

BECTU's freelance branches

The union's freelance branches bring together members who work on a freelance basis according to their craft (camera, sound, hair and make-up, for example) or according to a physical location (Scottish freelance, North West freeance, South West freelance for example).

In addition, in recent years, BECTU has used new legislation on trade union rights, to promote the collective interests of freelances.  As a result of this work by BECTU's officials and branch representatives, the union now represents freelances on a collective basis at the BBC's Natural History Unit, BBC Scotland, BBC Resources and EastEnders.

BECTU has a significant role to play in connecting freelances to one another so that information of mutual benefit can be shared. Our work helps to lessen the sense of isolation that freelances can experience.

New members are assigned to the appropriate branch on joining. Within a few days of joining you should receive a welcome letter, membership card and union rulebook.

Role of the branch

The branch is the most important grouping for members of BECTU. We encourage members to get to know their branch representatives and to play an active part in branch affairs. The new branch web page facility on this site could be a great tool in helping freelance members to connect. BECTU members can, via their website log-in, check to see whether their branch is making use of this facility. Branch pages include space for branch news, contacts, documents, blogs and forums. 

Getting involved with your branch

BECTU membership is an investment in your future at work. However BECTU membership can mean a lot more. You have the opportunity to get involved with your branch by attending meetings to support and inform the branch's activities; where branch meetings are not practical we encourage branches to make use of  their branch web pages. 

Why not lend a hand to your branch committee and help run the branch? Branch representatives are volunteers and branches are most successful where the work is shared.

Elected representatives also benefit from a full programme of training. Our training helps to develop our representatives to support their members. Our training also adds to our representatives' personal development. Our training team also organises a number of career-oriented training opportunities for freelances.

Contact us

If you are new to BECTU and don't know who your branch officials are contact us with your query and we will put you in touch. If you would like more information about how to become a branch representative contact Tracey Hunt our admin officer. 

Freelances and PLI

Public liability insurance cover, up to £10m per claim, is available to the union's freelance members at low cost. (Just £21 for the policy which runs from 1 May 2013 - 30 April 2014).  More info on PLI hereJoin BECTU  More on benefits and services.

Crewbus freelance members directory - have you prepared your entry? Contact Sharon Elliott for more info.

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