Assessment Task 2:

Who are BECTU and what do they do?

Discuss and critically reflect on BECTU’s role in their recent “BBC pay and pensions” campaign. Why were they involved? What did they want? What is the benefit of having a professional organisation (union)?

Things to include overall would be:

Professional organisations: PACT (Producers’ Alliance for Cinema and Television); New Producers’ Alliance (NPA); unions, eg BECTU (Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union), NUJ (National Union of Journalists), Sector Skills Councils, eg Skillset, CCSkills

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Who is BECTU and what do they do? BECTU is an acronym for a democratic organisation standing for Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematography, and Theatre Union. BECTU is a union that is in The Federation of Entertainment Unions that represents workers in television, film, music, theatre, cinema, professional football, new media, gaming and other performing arts in the United Kingdom. The Federation of Entertainment Unions consists of seven sub-unions such as NUJ (National Union of Journalist), The Musicians Union, Equity (formerly known as the British Actors’ Equity Association), Unite, The Writers Guild of Great Brittan, The Professional Footballers’ Union (or PFA), and BECTU.BECTU_logo

BECTU was launched in 1991 for those working in media related jobs and although they are considered a fairly new trade union, its origin can be tracked down to 1890.  BECTU has been around for about 22 years, and since then they’ve been significantly helping people that are enrolled in there union. BECTU provides a wide span of service to its union members, including personal advice and representation for individuals, negotiating pay with employers, in addition with their work contracts and conditions. They protect member’s jobs; help to improve working conditions, as well as pensions schemes for those who plan to retire.

In 2010 the “broadcasting union BECTU criticized the BBC for being out of step with the other public sector employers, after the corporation offered their staff a flat rate increase of £475 and those earning less than £37,726 annually only receive a 1% increase on their pension pay schemes” (Hemley, 2012).  Also any employee making above £37,726 annually will have their pay frozen. BECTU’s General secretary Gerry Morrissey said he, “found it insulting and pointed out that the staff pay increase at the BBC was below the presumed rate of inflation and  would only plunge further as time went on.” “In addition, the joint unions believe that the cap of £37,376 is unacceptable. The unions would consider a cap, but it would need to be substantially higher.” BECTU suggested in a statement that “in their view the BBC deliberately used the worst set of stock market figures available in order to make the deficit look bigger than it is”(BECTU, 2010). It was assumed that the BBC was using the economic crisis to there advantage.

BECTU held loads of meetings and gained massive support as they started “a campaign to improve the BBC’s 2010 pay offer, and to persuade management to rethink their position on damaging proposals with staff pensions” (BECTU, 2010). On the 21st of June in 2011 the BBC made an offer to their staff of a pay increase of £400 and a 2% increase of  there pension schemes.  This was applied to all staff members that work for BBC, in the studios, and as well as post-production earning less than £60,302 annually. BECTU members voted to accept the BBC pay offer and it had 65.8% for it and 34.2% against it.  Two-thirds majority won the vote as a result BECTU gladly accepted the offer from the BBC.

BECTU played an important role in the BBC pay and pensions campaign by looking out for their members best interests. They negotiated pay and pension wages with the BBC that they thought were unrealistic and unfair. BECTU aimed to increase these wages for the BBC employees and came out on top. Although not everyone was satisfied with the outcome, it was better then the original offer given to the BBC employees. Unions like BECTU take care and protect their workers concerns from unjust decisions made by corporations. As long as BECTU is around, companies cannot take advantage of employees in the media department.

Hemley, Matthew . (2012). BECTU hits out at BBC’s pay offer. Available: http://www.thestage.co.uk/news/2012/03/bectu-hits-out-at-bbcs-pay-offer/. Last accessed 16th Jan 2013.

BECTU. (2010). BBC: pay and pensions meetings draw huge numbers. Available: http://www.bectu.org.uk/news/894. Last accessed 16th Jan 2013.

Criteria: 1.2