Bectu’s Black Members’ Committee

The Black Members’ Committee is at the forefront of Bectu’s campaign to fight racism in the film, broadcasting and theatre industries.

The committee recognises that workforce diversity in the industry has reached crisis point.  Employment policy in recent years has led to a diminution of workers’ rights, especially within the freelance sector, and the result of this has seen the growth of institutional racism amongst employers.

Be part of this activity

One of the committee’s roles is to act as a forum where workers can raise any concerns they may have about racism in the industry (overt and institutional), and do so in a secure and supportive environment. We encourage members to contact the committee and get involved in the committee’s campaigning activities.

The Black Members’ Committee comprises representatives from across Bectu’s industrial divisions and it works across Bectu, with close links to the union’s other equalities groups.  It is the committee’s stance that fighting racism can only succeed with the active involvement of all parts of the union.

The committee also works closely with Prospect and the TUC, and fosters close connections with BAME members in our sister unions including Equity, the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain and the NUJ.

Current campaigns

Equality monitoring in the broadcasting industry: demanding that the data from the broadcasters’ monitoring initiative, Project Diamond be published at programme level for all productions that have a workforce greater than 50.

Theatre Diversity Action Plan – to improve diversity of the UK theatre sector

Hair & Makeup – working with our training dept, our media makeup and hair branch and colleagues in Equity to ensure that professional makeup and hair artists in the industry have the skills and kit to provide the same quality of service to BAME actors as they do for others.

Film industry – to improve diversity amongst feature film crews, arguing for the British Film Institute to publish the equality monitoring data for its publicly funded productions and urging the industry to bring in conversion courses for BAME workers in television with transferable skills.

Move on Up: the committee has organised 10 Move on Up events since 2003 – six in London and four at MediaCity in Salford, bringing top industry executives together for one-to-one meetings with BAME professionals.

To get in touch with the Black Members’ Committee email Janice Turner BECTU’s diversity officer.

Move on Up

Launched in 2003, Move on Up was devised and directed by Bectu’s diversity officer and the Black Members’ Committee. They did so in response to the views of BAME professionals that a major problem was lack of contacts and not being in the right professional networks. In an industry characterised by informal recruitment, the phrase ‘it’s more a case of who you know, rather than what you know’ is too prevalent.

Move on Up has proved popular with the industry and with BAME professionals alike.

Move on Up aims to facilitate new contacts for BAME professionals and to enable executives responsible for hiring (permanent, fixed term or freelance) or commissioning to meet BAME professionals who they may not have come into contact with before. It has given the professionals better knowledge and opened communication channels which have led to new opportunities including jobs, programme commissions and a better idea of companies’ and executives’ modus operandi. It has also opened the eyes of executives to the wealth of hitherto unknown BAME talent and the fact that so many BAME professionals have decades of experience.

How it works

Move on Up is a partnership between the employers and the unions.

The companies put forward to the union the names and brief job descriptions of executives responsible for hiring or commissioning, and the list is circulated to as many BAME professionals as possible who are asked: “Who would you like to have a one-to-one with?” The professional sends in a CV and showreel and indicates which executives they would like to meet. This event is not open to students.

The CV of every BAME professional is sent to every executive they have asked to see. Each executive is required to read all the CVs and send over their list of those they would like to meet.

The union is responsible for prearranging and timetabling literally hundreds of 20-minute one-to-one meetings that take place throughout the one-day event.

The participating companies, unions and other organisations are also invited to organise one-hour workshops covering issues they believe would be of value to the professionals.

Every event has been in partnership with the BBC and Creative Skillset. ITV, PACT, independent production companies, the TUC and the National Union of Journalists have been sponsors. They have focussed on different sectors, primarily film and television but also radio, news and even newspapers have taken part.