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BECTU secures UMF support to assist vulnerable workers

17 September 2009

New entrants and those forced to pay upfront fees to agencies are set to benefit from new initiatives to be developed by BECTU in 2010.

News this week that the Union Modernisation Fund has decided to support the union's work in these areas will assist BECTU to deliver much needed practical assistance to these vulnerable groups.

We are very pleased about this week's announcement and the success of two of our bids; we look forward to finalising the details in the coming weeks

"We are very pleased about this week's announcement and the success of two of our bids; we look forward to finalising the details in the coming weeks," commented, general secretary, Gerry Morrissey.

"I also take this opportunity to thank my colleagues for their hard work in preparing all of the bids we submitted in this third UMF round; our joint diversity bid was not successful on this occasion, and that is a disappointment, but this does not mean that our diversity work will stop." he said. 

The union's bids

BECTU submitted three bids for consideration by the UMF board; one focussed on the development of additional support and guidance for new entrants; another on research into the feasibility and piloting of a cooperative employment agency to assist those currently subject to upfront fees; and a third proposed a project, inspired by the successful Move on Up, centred on career support for Black and minority ethnic workers represented by organisations in the Federation of Entertainment Unions. 

New entrants continue to be exploited by employers who take advantage of the huge numbers of people keen to work in the creative sector.

Long hours and low pay, sometimes in breach of national minimum wage regulations, are issues which still need to be tackled and which are likely to be made worse by the current recession.

Background artistes are one just group in the creative field whose efforts to find work are exploited by agencies who demand up-front fees. The experience of many members is that despite the payment of registration fees, some agencies and diary services make minimal effort to find work for a significant number of people on their books.

BECTU's agency project is to be run in conjunction with Co-operatives UK

The union proposals for tackling rogue agencies are set out in a submission to the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills which is currently reviewing the related legislation. Feedback on the consultation is expected soon.

The UMF agreed to provide financial support to 14 projects focussed on vulnerable workers this week; bids are accepted on the basis that the successful unions provide matching funding. 

 

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