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Conference 2011: motions carried and other highlights

Delegates in discussion at BECTU's 2011 conference in Eastbourne. Conference 2011: delegates in the conference hall. Pic: Mark Dimmock

19 June 2011

In an Eastbourne bathed in sunshine on 4 June, BECTU representatives came together to catch up on the year and to keep their inspiration levels topped up! There was also some important business. A number of rules and policy propositions were debated. Here's a summary of what went on.

BECTU reps can access the full text of motions submitted to conference (except for emergency propositions) by logging in and visiting this page (the draft report issued in March 2011 is attached).

Rules Revision

All proposed amendments to union rules were carried (passed) except for AR4 Annual Conference which, if passed, would have led to conferences once every two years. As a result the union will continue to hold annual conferences. An amended rulebook will be printed in the coming weeks.

That said, a policy proposition about annual conference in 2013 was passed.

Next year BECTU will be 21 and the annual conference (26 & 27 May 2012) will be held in Manchester. The costs will be higher due to the location, the additional travel involved for reps and some special features to mark the occasion; conference delegates accepted that in order to bear the additional costs, as a one-off, no annual conference will take place in 2013.

Speakers listen in to contributions during a debate on youth recruitment at Conference 2011.Sharon Elliott (BECTU) Daniel Whittle (Unions 21) and Michael Wheeler (USDAW) listen in to reps contributions during a lively debate about youth recruitment. Pic: Mark Dimmock

2011 conference propositions

(Proposing body or branch in italics).

Proposition 1  NEC - Annual Conference 2013 - CARRIED

As explained earlier this proposition, proposed by the NEC, was passed and there will be no annual conference in 2013.

Proposition 2  Post-Production and Facilities - Conference 2012 Guest - CARRIED

The Labour Party leader will be invited to speak at annual conference.

Proposition 3 Bush - Political Debate - LOST

Conference rejected a proposal to invite a politician from any major party to address conference in 2012.

Proposition 4 Cardiff - Network TV Supply - CARRIED

BECTU will do more to 'engage with Ofcom to ensure that quotas for 'out of London' productions are reached through genuine and accountable productions which properly and fully meet the Ofcom criteria'.

Proposition 5 Writers Producers & Directors - 6 Day Week Contracts - CARRIED

BECTU will do more to challenge employers who seek to impose 6-day week contracts. The practice is designed to attack pay, working time and holiday rights for  freelancers. Reps call for a 'swift end to the practice'.

Proposition 6 Bush - Big Society Cuts - CARRIED

BECTU urged to 'join in discussions with other trade unions planning action to oppose public sector cuts'. David Cameron's 'Big Society' criticised as a smokescreen for cuts and an attack on public sector jobs.  

Proposition 7 BBC Worldwide TV & Publishing - Government Cuts in Arts & Media - REMITTED

Motion called for vigorous opposition to 'any and all cuts' in our sectors. Remitted to the NEC.


BECTU pledged its support for continuing efforts to keep the NHS as a public service.

Proposition 8 Bush - BECTU and NUJ  - REMITTED

Motion sought to instruct the NEC to open talks on merger with the NUJ. Remitted to the NEC.

Proposition 9 Film Artistes - Employment Agencies - CARRIED

Motion called on the general secretary to lobby BIS and the TUC to extend the Gangmaster Licensing Authority remit to cover employment agencies to protect vulnerable workers.

Proposition 10 Scottish Freelance - Freelance Workers - REMITTED

Motion sought action to strengthen the rights of casuals. Remitted to the NEC.

Proposition 11 North West Freelance and Independent - Creative England - CARRIED

BECTU will seek representation on the constituent parts of Creative England following the merger of the regional screen agencies into the new body. The aim is to keep Creative England connected to the grassroots and to the issues which workers face.

Proposition 12  North West Freelance and Independent - Commercial Production by Higher and Further Education Institutions - CARRIED

The motion highlighted evidence of teaching establishments competing for work with the industry, exploiting their students, doing damage to the industry they seek to enter and also to established workers. Urgent action called for.   

Other highlights

Daniel Whittle, director Unions21 and Michael Wheeler from USDAW's research team joined with comms officer Sharon Elliott, to lead a session on the recruitment of young people. The response of reps was wide-ranging and very positive. The union will be expanding its work with students and new entrants during the next 12 months.

What do young people think of unions? Access the TUC/Unions21 research. (If you are a BECTU rep and you'd like us to post you a copy/copies email us).

Steve Price, winner of the 2011 TUC 60 Second Ad Contest is a BECTU member. His winning entry was shown at conference and is so clever it provided both a serious and a light moment.

2011 Awards

David Cormack who retired as administrative officer in May 2010 received honorary membership. Andy Leonard of Western Freelance branch received the Roger Bolton Award for 2011 in recognition of his work in delivering the Bristol Freelancers' Fair in February. Lezli Everitt from Costume and Wardrobe received the Learning Award. Red Bee Media won the Branch Website Award for the second year in a row. The Western and West End Commercial Theatres branches were joint runners-up.

Fuller reports

Branch representatives have received a fuller report on discussions in Eastbourne; Stage Screen and Radio will also cover the event; the June/July issue will hit doormats any day now.


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