What are branches?

Branches are the key organising unit in the union. Branches form the basis of representation to other advisory or policy-making bodies in the union structure.

There are more than 350 branches in Bectu. Most of them are employer-based and match the employer’s organisational structure as far as possible.

What types of branches are there?

There are also a number of regional branches. These contain small groups of members from various employers which are too small to form their own branches, or individual members who work for employers where Bectu does not have an official agreement in place (known as the union not being recognised).

Branches vary in their occupational, functional and geographical spread. In some cases, all the members are located in a single building; in others their members are scattered throughout the UK and even around the world.

Branches that cover a number of different occupations and/ or locations usually have sections and sub-sections based on employer sub-units, establishments, geographical locations or occupation.

How do branches work?

The day-to-day work of the branch is overseen by a branch committee (usually called the ‘branch council’, ‘executive council’ or ‘executive committee’). The committee will be established in accordance with the branch’s own rules (model rules for branches are available by emailing [email protected]).

Its members will be reps drawn from sections or directly elected by the members. As well as deciding the union’s position on issues that are subject to consultation with the employer, the branch committee has to ensure that its routine business is conducted efficiently.

An effective branch committee should base its work on an annual calendar and:

  • issue an annual report
  • issue an audited statement of annual accounts
  • elect representatives to relevant bodies
  • hold an annual delegate conference (ADC) or annual general meeting (AGM)
  • elect officers (if not done by the ADC or AGM)
  • issue a report on action taken after the ADC or AGM
  • inform and consult members
  • ensure branch officers and other reps are trained
  • oversee section and sub-section accounts
  • participate in national conference and any relevant sector conference.