BBC Scotland freelance recognition

In a major breakthrough BECTU has been recognised for freelance staff working at BBC Scotland.

This makes BECTU the only union recognised for freelance staff by BBC Scotland.

Until now BBC Scotland has refused to recognise any union for freelance staff making BECTU the first union to achieve this.

BECTU has signed an agreement with BBC Scotland to allow negotiations on behalf of its members who work on productions such as River City, Sea of Souls and Tea in the Park.

BECTU has already started the process of negotiating an increase in freelance rate for 2005-2006.

The agreement means that BECTU is now recognised for all freelance (schedule D) staff and the union can negotiate collectively on behalf of its 800 freelance members who work for BBC Scotland. Until now it has only been possible to represent them individually.

BECTU has nearly 8,000 staff members (schedule E) across the BBC.

BBC Supervisory Official Luke Crawley said: "This is a great step forward that allows us to do something for freelances rates of pay which have not gone up for years.

"Credit must be given to our Scottish Officer Paul McManus who has done such a good job of organising our Scottish freelance members that the BBC had little choice but to reach a voluntary agreement or face a statutory claim for recognition - the BBC chose the voluntary agreement".

Although the agreement is with BBC Scotland BECTU sees it as a precedent for organising freelance staff working in other parts of the United Kingdom.

20 October 2005