No excuse for more redundancies

The 2009 BBC Divisional Conference has said "there is no excuse for another draconian round of redundancies" at the Corporation.

Picture of BECTU's BBC Conference 2009

BECTU's BBC Conference 2009 meets. (Picture: Tony Scott)

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

  • Calling on the BBC to focus and refine its programme compliance procedures.
  • Expressing concern on the abuse of Days Conditions of Service.
  • To pressure the Corporation to set a salary cap.

The Conference was followed by a debate on the future of BBC North, at which Peter Salmon insisted people will be 'at the heart' of the new Salford Quays.

The BBC Divisional Conference was held the day before the main BECTU Annual Conference at Bournemouth.

Formal motions on the BBC Conference agenda

All decisions on proposed propositions (motions) considered by the BBC Divisional Conference at Bournemouth on 24 April 2009.

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  • WITHDRAWN - proposal removed by those who submitted the motion and therefore not considered by Conference.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 - Use of bonuses

This BBC Divisional Conference notes the reluctance of the BBC to give its staff any kind of pay rise this year, and is concerned that bonuses may instead be used to raise the pay of those on higher grades.

Conference instructs the BBC Divisional Committee to press the BBC to restrict the payment of bonuses to those on Band 7 and below, so that lower paid staff rather than those on higher wages benefit from any such payments.

Bush Branch


Proposition 2 - BBC's spending audit

This BBC Divisional Conference calls on the BBC Divisional Committee to put pressure on the BBC at every opportunity for the licence fee to be spent on programme making staff, rather than it enriching the directors and shareholders of private companies. This conference recommends that BECTU also makes every effort to demonstrate where private companies fail to deliver value for money, and use the resulting evidence to publicly campaign for the licence fee money to be better audited and spent by the BBC.

Cardiff Branch


Proposition 3 - BBC salary cap

That this BBC Divisional Conference calls upon the BBC Divisional Committee to put strong pressure on the BBC to set a salary cap for BBC staff, and all individuals who can be identified as deriving income from the BBC.

Cardiff Branch


Proposition 4 - Secure income should mean no redundancies

The BBC's licence fee is a known amount and BBC Worldwide's contribution is looking good. With that much better certainty of income than others in our industry, there is no excuse for another draconian round of redundancies to follow the enormous number of jobs lost from the BBC over the past couple of years. Rather, it is essential to reward the loyalty and relative reduction in pay that BBC employees have suffered over the last few years by ensuring that they will not lose their jobs.

This BBC Divisional Conference calls on the BBC management to exercise tenacity and strength in retaining jobs within the organisation and to look for efficiencies in areas other than staff numbers over the coming year.

This BBC Divisional Conference further calls on the BBC Divisional Committee to wage a concerted campaign to fight all job cuts as well as compulsory redundancies.

BBC Radio & Music Production Branch
BBC Worldwide and TV Publishing Branch


Proposition 5 - Protect our pay and pensions

That this BBC Divisional Conference notes:

  1. the clear aim of western governments to pass the burden of the current financial crisis of capitalism on to the backs of ordinary workers, whose jobs, services, pay and pensions will all come under attack as a result of the worldwide credit crunch and the multi-billion pound bank bailouts;
  2. that as staff turnover brings increasing numbers of BBC staff on to the new Career Average pension scheme, one cost-cutting option that will increasingly appeal to BBC managers will be the transfer of all pensioners into that scheme, especially as no-one will expect members of the CAS to fight to defend the pensions of those currently entitled to Final Salary pension provision.

That this BBC divisional conference therefore resolves:

  1. to use every means at its disposal to fight below-inflation pay rises and other measures that serve to move the burden of the financial crisis on to our members;
  2. to make it a matter of high priority to fight all cuts in pension provision, increases in contributions (pay cuts by another name) or a rise in the retirement age;
  3. to wage a concerted campaign, using all means at the union's disposal, to reinstate the final salary pension for all staff.

BBC Radio & Music Production Branch


Proposition 6 - Compliance

That this BBC Divisional Conference notes the BBC's increasingly paranoid attitude to compliance in the wake of recent events. This conference further notes and deplores the BBC's apparent reliance on intimidation as a motivational tool in relation to compliance.

That this divisional conference calls on the BBC to:

  1. focus and refine its compliance procedures to eliminate time wasted ticking boxes purely to cover people's backs;
  2. put the emphasis of the compliance process on sensible decision-making, and trust staff to make decisions with diligent consideration;
  3. support its production staff when they have to 'stand up to' high profile personalities

BBC Radio & Music Production Branch


Proposition 7 - Oppose low pay of support staff and victimisation of low-paid migrants

That this BBC Divisional Conference notes:

  1. the unjust treatment of support staff such as cleaners, caterers and security personnel at the BBC, many of whom are employed by subcontractors and paid wages that are well below the Living Wage for the cities they work in;
  2. the exploitation of migrant workers by subcontracting firms whose aim is to intimidate their employees out of unionising and demanding better pay and conditions;
  3. that the best way to stop illegal immigrants from lowering conditions and wages for British workers is to fight for the removal of their illegal status as the first step to bringing them into the unions and demanding decent pay and conditions for all.

That this annual conference therefore resolves:

  1. to adopt a strategy to oppose exploitation of migrant workers and support workers so exploited, including adopting a policy of non-compliance with any checks on the status of workers, instructing all members not to comply with any demands to produce documentary evidence of their status, and supporting all members who refuse to comply in this way;
  2. to form a joint campaign with other unions to further this non-compliance policy, to call for an end to the 'illegal' status of economic migrants, and to increase pressure on the BBC and its subcontractors to pay all support staff the Living Wage for the city they work in;
  3. to supply information about these issues to all BECTU branches in the BBC and help them to lend any and all support they can to their less-well-off colleagues.

BBC Radio & Music Production Branch


Proposition 8 - The abuse of Days Conditions

This Divisional Conference is concerned that the use of Day Conditions within the BBC has become subject to abuse, and has been used by many instances as a buy-out of overtime for staff who are scheduled by the hour.

This Divisional Conference therefore instructs the BBC Divisional Committee and its officers to make it clear to the BBC that staff are employed to be at a particular place at a definite time, to perform a set a specific tasks, should be employed on Hours Conditions. It further calls on the BBC Divisional Committee and its officers to remind the BBC that there are two types of contract defined within the Agreed Statements, and these are Days Conditions and Hours Conditions. Any other contractual arrangement is outside of the Agreed Statements and is therefore a breach of these conditions.

BBC Central London Engineering & Technology


Emergency proposition 1 - Conference timetable

This Conference thanks the Division for setting a full and varied agenda but having tried this year's timetable, this Divisional Conference requests that future conferences revert to previous year's timetables, to allow for more time for formal and informal business.

BBC Cardiff Branch


28 April 2009