BBC strategy cuts deplored

The 2010 BBC Divisional Conference has deplored the cuts proposed in the BBC Strategy Review at its meeting in Bournemouth.

The emergency proposition on the Strategy Review was agreed as the BBC Trust public consultation on the management proposals close on 25 May 2010.

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

  • Opposing the partial or total privatisation of BBC Worldwide.
  • Deploring BBC Worldwide's refusal to extend trade union recognition to BBC Audio Books.
  • To oppose the 'top slicing' of the BBC licence fee.
  • To press the BBC to fully investigate the use of open source software in the Corporation.

The BBC Divisional Conference was held the day after 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 16 May 2010.

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  • WITHDRAWN - proposal removed by those who submitted the motion and therefore not considered by Conference.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

Emergency Proposition 1: BBC Stategy Review

This BBC Divisional Conference deplores the cuts proposed in the BBC Strategy Review "delivering quality". In particular the Divisional Conference rejects the plan to cut interactive spending by 25%, close the 'Blast' and 'Switch' initiatives and close the radio stations Asian Network and 6Music.

This Divisional Conference resolves to highlight the damage that these proposals will do to the diversity of the BBC's audience and the impact that they will have on the BBC's remit to provide services around youth content and music.

This BBC Divisional Conference resolves to support campaigns opposing the review and lobby the BBC Trust to urge them to reject the strategy proposals.

BBC Radio & Music Production Branch

CARRIED


Proposition 1: Access Control Data

This BBC Divisional Conference is concerned that data from the Access Control System is being made available to managers within the BBC for the purposes of monitoring the whereabouts of individual members of staff, in apparent contradiction to the BBC's own Data Protection Handbook. It calls upon the National Joint Council to clarify the situation with the BBC, and seek an assurance that such information will only be used by the BBC's investigators where they have been requested to investigate a genuine allegation of unlawful activity.

BBC Central London Future Media & Technology Branch

CARRIED


Proposition 2: Trade Union Recognition in BBC Audio Books

This BBC Divisional Conference deplores BBC Worldwide's refusal to extend trade union recognition to BBC Audio Books and calls upon the BBC Divisional Committee to make every effort to ensure that in future all BBC subsidiaries, ventures and joint ventures carry full recognition.

BBC Worldwide and TV Publishing Branch

CARRIED


Proposition 3: Privatisation of BBC Worldwide

This BBC divisional conference notes that:

  1. The BBC's wholly owned commercial subsidiary, BBC Worldwide, occupies a necessary and appropriate place in the UK and international broadcast market.
  2. BBC Worldwide returned 110 million to the public service for investment into programme making in the year 2009 2010.
  3. BBC Worldwide continues to provide an essential level of income to the public service, without which many flagship shows would not make it off the blocks and onto our (and our international comrades') screens.

This BBC Divisional Conference states its opposition to the partial or total privatisation of BBC Worldwide.

BBC Worldwide and TV Publishing Branch

CARRIED


Proposition 4: BBC Worldwide Pay

This BBC Divisional Conference deplores BBC Worldwide's decision to implement a pay freeze in 2009/2010 in spite of continued high profit yields. This BBC Divisional Conference further calls on BBC Worldwide to halt the trend towards bonus based reward and instead commit to negotiated consolidated pay increases.

BBC Worldwide and TV Publishing Branch

CARRIED


Proposition 5: Top Slicing of the Licence Fee

This BBC Divisional Conference opposes 'top slicing' of the BBC licence fee which will inevitably lead to ever encroaching cuts on the BBC's income available to make programmes. Further, top slicing could lead to the implementation of proposals to abolish the licence fee altogether. This would lead to direct state financing of the main public service broadcaster and the inevitable interference in its editorial independence.

BBC Worldwide and TV Publishing Branch

CARRIED


Proposition 6: External Spend

This BBC Divisional Conference recognises that the BBC Trust's interpretation of how the voluntary 'external spend' quotas should work has led to waste and inefficiency, and in particular to the licence fee being used to line private pockets.

This BBC Divisional Conference therefore instructs the Divisional Committee to lobby the BBC Trust and the Department of Culture Media & Sport to reduce the quotas in interactive external spend, and to restrict the radio external spend to its current level.

BBC Radio & Music Production Branch

CARRIED


Proposition 7: Headcount Restrictions

This BBC Divisional Conference instructs the Divisional Committee to call on the BBC to ensure its managers do not use 'headcount' restrictions as an excuse for:

  1. loading all extra work on to permanent staff and never hiring in anyone for cover;
  2. not hiring additional permanent staff even when they know there is continuing work to be covered, but hiring expensive independent companies and freelances to do the work instead.

BBC Radio & Music Production Branch

CARRIED


Proposition 8: Open Source Software

This BBC Divisional Conference notes that the BBC spends huge amounts of money on proprietary software licences, much of it indirectly through its contracts with Siemens.

Conference also notes that there is a great deal of 'Open Source' software available which can perform many of the tasks the BBC requires.

Since this software is free, its use would lead to cash savings which might mean fewer job cuts in other areas of the Corporation. Conference therefore instructs the Divisional Committee to raise the issue of Open Source at the highest possible managerial level, and to press the BBC to fully investigate its use.

Bush Branch

CARRIED


Proposition 9: BBC Informer

This BBC Divisional Conference recognises the positive impact of the "BBC Informer" supplement to Stage Screen and Radio. While recognising that its production took a significant amount of time and resources, many members felt this summary information was more easily accessible than online material.

This Conference therefore instructs the BBC Division to reinstate this valuable communication to members, and to ease the burden of its compilation through some or all of the following:

  1. Making more use of Lay and National Officials' reports.
  2. Encouraging submissions from Branches.
  3. Making use of material already published on the BECTU website and in SDC and Divisional Committee minutes.
  4. Seeking of volunteers from anywhere within BECTU to compile and edit the publication.

BBC Cardiff Branch

REMITTED


Proposition 10: Bottom Weighting in Pay Campaigns

This BBC Divisional Conference notes last year's accepted proposition for BECTU to urge the BBC to set a salary cap for BBC staff, and the subsequent pay agreement where the BBC itself decreed that the flat rate increase was not paid to anyone earning over 60,000 in line with the BBC's policy to freeze the pay of more senior staff.

In noting the above, this Conference urges the BBC Division to continue this general trend and give prominence in all pay talks to salary caps, senior pay freezes and bottom weighting for at least the next year.

BBC Cardiff Branch

CARRIED


Proposition 11: Branch Representatives Guide to BBC Agreed Statements

This BBC Divisional Conference notes the large number of recent changes to the BBC's Agreed Statements. This Conference urges the Divisional Committee to issue its own, simple guide to the new policies highlighting key changes for the benefit of Reps.

Conference further instructs the Divisional Committee to publicise future changes, as they are negotiated, and then add them to this guide.

Conference recommends that the guide is provided as a download from the BECTU website with appropriate links to the BBC Agreed Statements online.

BBC Cardiff Branch

CARRIED


Proposition 12: Limit the Gross Differences in Pay Across the BBC.

This BBC Divisional Conference notes public anger at BBC senior management's self-awarded pay levels and instructs the Division and requests the NEC to campaign that:

No BBC employee shall receive payment in any one year greater than ten times the average salary across the BBC. This average should be calculated, at the moment of Pay Claim agreement, upon the basic rates from the previous 12 months for pay bands 2 to 11.

Central London Programmes

REMITTED


23 May 2010