the media and entertainment union
a sector of Prospect

18 January 2010

Representatives of freelances working for the BBC gathered in London last weekend to give their backing to a campaign aimed at extending collective bargaining for freelances.


The representatives, who travelled from all over the country to meet with union officials, registered their unanimous support for negotiations with the BBC on a recognition and procedural agreement covering freelances.

The first meeting with BBC management is scheduled for 26 February.

BECTU hopes that a recognition agreement can be secured which paves the way for departmental discussions with the BBC in the interests of both parties.

The procedural part would set out an agreed mechanism for resolving any disputes which might arise.

BECTU's general secretary, Gerry Morrissey, who led the meeting on 16 January, explained:

"I will do everything possible to secure this agreement with the BBC."

BECTU has established agreements for freelances working across film, tv and theatre. Most notably, agreements are in place to support freelances at the Natural History Unit, BBC Scotland, The Bill and EastEnders.

Fair treatment and consistency

Any future framework agreement with the BBC will not have a direct affect on established departmental or programme specific agreements; instead a new accord would reflect the importance of freelance labour to BBC programme-making and provide an important backdrop to the delivery of fair treatment and consistency for freelances engaged by the BBC.

Representatives at last Saturday's meeting (16 January) cover the range of production disciplines including camera, sound, electricians, producers, directors, props and hair and make-up; reps also committed to sharing information about the future talks with members and colleagues in the field.

BECTU will keep representatives informed as the talks progress and further meetings will be arranged.

Freelance members should contact us at for more details about the recognition campaign.

In addition to personal representation and some collective bargaining for freelances, BECTU provides members with recommended rates, tax guidance, health and safety information, subsidised training, legal services and specialist insurances, including public liability insurance.

Early Bird keeps freelances informed about upcoming productions; Crewbus helps freelances to advertise their skills.