Top slicing objection

The 2008 BBC Divisional Conference has objected to all attempts to top slice the Corporations's licence fee.

Amongst other decisions reached by BBC Branch delegates at the Conference were:

  • Demanding fair and equitable pay increases in the BBC, its subsidiaries, and companies which have purchased parts of the BBC.
  • Placing the protection and, where possible, enhancement of unpredictability conditions high on the agenda of all negotiations with the BBC.
  • Instructing the Divisional Committee to ensure that simplification is not used by the BBC to introduce vagueness into agreed statements to the point where they are meaningless.
The BBC Divisional Conference was held the morning before the main BECTU Annual Conference at Liverpool.

Formal motions on the BBC Conference agenda


All decisions on proposed propositions (motions) considered by the BBC Divisional Conference at Liverpool on 9 May 2008.

Decisions of Conference are flagged by the use of six descriptions:

  • CARRIED - proposal supported by Conference.
  • LOST - proposal rejected by Conference.
  • REMITTED - proposal handed to BBC Divisional Committee without any decision by Conference.
  • PASSED OVER - proposal not debated or no vote taken.
  • WITHDRAWN - proposal removed by those who submitted the motion and therefore not considered by Conference.
  • INCORPORATED - amendment incorporated into proposal by agreement of movers of proposal.

Proposition 1 [amended]: Scottish Broadcasting

This BECTU BBC Divisional conference believes that:

  1. an increase in programme-making within the three nations 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 those areas' 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
[Amended by] Belfast General (NI) Branch

CARRIED


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

LOST


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

CARRIED


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

CARRIED


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

CARRIED


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

CARRIED


Proposition 7: Agreement in Principle

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

CARRIED


Emergency proposition 1: World Service off-shoring

This BBC Divisional Conference notes the growing campaign against off-shoring of language services in the World Service and sends a message of support to those whose jobs are threatened.

BBC Bush Branch

CARRIED


18 May 2008