2008 BBC proposals issued

Proposals for the BBC Divisional Conference 2008 include Scottish broadcasting, pay and top slicing of the Licence Fee.

BECTU Branches in the BBC have submitted proposals, detailed below, for this year's Conference to be held 9-10 May 2008 in Liverpool.

Beforehand BBC Branches have until 1200 on 20 March 2008 to put forward amendments to the proposals.

Both these amendments and the original proposals will be subject to debate and voting at Conference by BECTU Branch delegates from across the BBC.

Branches are reminded they must notify Head Office of their Conference delegates by 28 March 2008.

BECTU Branches can submit amendments to these proposals using the forms enclosed with BBC Divisional letter dated 11 February 2008.

Nominations by Branches for the BBC Divisional Committee 2008-2009, and for the Standing Orders Committee (SOC) for the 2009 BBC Divisional Conference, can also be made using forms attached to this letter.

The BBC Divisional Conference is held the day after the main BECTU Conference.

Detailed below are propositions submitted by Branches and the BBC Divisional Committee accepted and rejected by the BBC Conference Standing Orders Committee (SOC).


BBC Divisional Conference propositions accepted by SOC


Proposition 1: Scottish Broadcasting

This BECTU BBC Divisional conference believes that:

  1. an increase in programme-making within Scotland is to be desired as part of the BBC's "Out of London" strategy, and as a means to expand the scheduling on network TV channels in line with Scotland's 9% proportion of the UK population;
  2. the opening of Pacific Quay should herald a boom in the Scottish television production base, and the union supports increases in staff numbers, contrary to the cuts currently being imposed by London management;
  3. the BBC's national integrity, and its ability successfully to argue for the Licence Fee funding system, depend on it remaining a national broadcaster for the whole UK, and the union opposes any devolution to any nation or region.

BBC Divisional Committee


Proposition 2: Boxing Day Payment

That this BBC Divisional Conference instructs the BBC Divisional Committee to ask the BBC to move the Boxing Day actuality payment to New Years Day in England and Wales.

BBC Bush Branch


Proposition 3: Accommodation in W1

That this BBC Divisional Conference notes that the layout and facilities of the Egton building leave a great deal to be desired and staff there are suffering as a result. Conference instructs the BBC Division to press for a much better working environment both at Egton and in the W1 Complex as a whole when it comes on line.

BBC Bush Branch


Proposition 4: Pay

That this BBC Divisional Conference moves that, with increasingly difficult economic times ahead, BECTU demands fair and equitable pay increases in the BBC, its subsidiaries, and companies which have purchased parts of the BBC. These should be pegged to the growth of the Corporation / Company rather than being below inflation and should be made available across the organisation, including senior management – to the level of DG. Increasing fuel and food prices combined with a less secure job market is not an excuse to implement real terms pay cuts year after year, after year.

BBC Worldwide TV & Publishing Branch


Proposition 5: Top Slicing of Licence Fee

That this BBC Divisional Conference moves that we object to all attempts to top slice the licence fee and demand that the government implement a properly thought through and funded public service broadcasting initiative rather than a cost cutting exercise.

BBC Worldwide TV & Publishing Branch


Proposition 6: BBC Conditions and UPA

That this BBC Divisional Conference applauds the Divisional Committee in its efforts to prevent the BBC from eroding the conditions of service for staff, especially with respect to UPA. Conference recognises that BBC staff receive little and inconsistent benefit from working unpredictably. Conference therefore instructs the Divisional Committee to place the protection and, where possible, enhancement of such conditions high on the agenda of all negotiations with the BBC where appropriate during 2008 and beyond and to encourage members to support all efforts to prevent the erosion of these conditions.

BBC Cardiff (W) Branch


Proposition 7: [untitled]

That this BBC Divisional Conference notes that the "Agreement in Principle" negotiated on the 23rd of Jan 2008 contains these words,

"In going forward the BBC wants to adopt a new approach in how they work with the trade unions and joint working groups will be set up to discuss issues much earlier in the process. They also propose to create a joint working group to look at the simplification of the BBC’s policies and agreements."

And that the BBC's previous proposals for "simplification" of agreements has resulted in proposals that are so vague they would be incredibly difficult for the union to enforce.

This Divisional conference believes that "simplification" can frequently mean ambiguity which can serve the BBC rather more handily than its workers. For instance, the existing blurred meaning on UPA which means that those without it are unsure of their rights when asked to work outside their normal hours.

This divisional conference instructs the Divisional Committee to ensure that "simplification" is not used by the BBC to introduce vagueness into the agreed statements to the point where they are meaningless".

BBC Radio & Music Production Branch


BBC Divisional Conference propositions rejected by SOC


Proposition 1: Out of London

This BECTU BBC Divisional conference believes that:

  1. an increase in programme-making within the Nations is to be desired as part of the BBC's "Out of London" strategy, and as a means to expand the scheduling of programmes made in the Nations on network TV channels, in line with the proportion of the UK population living in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland;
  2. but the BBC's national integrity, and its ability successfully to argue for the Licence Fee funding system, depends on it remaining a national broadcaster for the whole UK, and the union opposes any devolution of funding to any nation or region within the UK.

Belfast General (NI) Branch

SOC's reason for rejection: The SOC felt it duplicated the proposition number 1 (above) submitted by the BBC Divisional Committee.


13 February 2008