Posted by Gerry Morrissey on 6 February 2010
Gerry Morrissey speaks at a reception on 1 February 2010 to mark the formal end of the union's website development project. Pic: Stefano Cagnoni
As we anticipate the general election here, in the European Parliament the reduced Labour Group is considering its approach to the current session.
Attending a planning meeting in Brussels this week with ETUC and Uni-Mei colleagues, it is clear to me that issues affecting our members - Television Without Frontiers and the campaign to stop illegal downloads, being just two - will be the focus of important debate and decision in Brussels/Strasbourg in the coming months. BECTU will contribute to those discussions.
Back home now, the week ahead will see a decision on the joint union pay claim due to be submitted to the BBC. Whilst staff working for the BBC are much in mind, so too are our freelance members who work for the Corporation across the country; talks start on 26 February about a framework agreement to help to meet their need for a more open dialogue based on fair principles.
The union's annual conference takes place in Bournemouth on 15-16 May and the chances are that this will follow the general election. By then BECTU officials will have met again with the Conservative shadow culture minister, Jeremy Hunt, at his request.
Arts Council consultation
Whilst there is speculation about Conservative plans for the BBC should the Party win the election, the prospect of cutbacks in the public sector, whoever wins, will no doubt affect the arts. The Arts Council has recently announced a consultation into its funding priorities and BECTU has welcomed the invitation to make a submission.
Farewell to Jack Amos
With on-going negotiations and our many organising priorities, February is proving to be an intense month. It will also be a sad time as we mourn the loss of executive member Jack Amos, a long-standing union activist, whose warmth and commitment we will miss greatly. Jack's funeral takes place on Tuesday 16 February at Golders Green Crematorium, London.