BBC freelancers make history with union recognition vote

freelancers in Bristol have won the right to vote on union recognition.

legal body which oversees new legislation on union representation has ruled
that a group of Bectu freelance members qualify as ‘workers’ and can therefore
take part in a ballot to determine whether the union can bargain on their

from the BBC had argued that the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) should not
approve the ballot on the grounds that the freelancers concerned were
independent entrepreneurs, and not workers as described in the Employment
Relations Act.

is no direct right of appeal against the CAC’s decision to accept the union
recognition claim submitted by Bectu on behalf of members who regularly work
for the BBC’s Natural History Unit in Bristol.

CAC will now proceed with the lengthy process of checking the union’s claim
that many of the freelancers are Bectu members, and will then oversee the
postal ballot on recognition.

the BBC has refused to discuss terms and conditions for freelancers with the
union, and the CAC ruling could dramatically alter the rights of freelance
staff throughout the corporation.

By Quentin Reade

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