Dignity at Work

Bectu’s flagship Dignity at Work campaign aims to champion workers’ rights to dignity and highlight the role and responsibility of unions in improving workplace culture.

Head of Bectu Philippa Childs says:

“This campaign is for all members of Bectu. All of you. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, or where you come from – we all deserve dignity in the workplace and this campaign is about standing up for that very basic workplace right.

“Bectu wants to make one very clear bold statement about Dignity at Work, and just what that means. It’s something that we can all sign up to, and all unite behind. It’s a positive message, which we have arrived at having been through some seriously negative times. From the Saville enquiry to the Me Too movement. From the constant battles of our freelance members simply looking to get paid on time, to the runners being told they’re lucky to be there and should not complain. From the issues around diversity in our industry and the impossibility of jugging work and a family. So many issues, but one key message – Dignity.

“That’s the line in the sand that our union is now drawing. We all deserve Dignity at Work, and we must respect the dignity of one another.”

Read Philippa’s full blog launching the campaign’s five key strands – Equality Diversity and Inclusion, Bullying and Harassment, Quality of working life, ‘Talking Terms’ and ‘Sticking Together’.

Starting to tackle sexual harassment in creative workplaces

Bectu’s Dignity at Work campaign started with a call to stamp out sexual harassment in creative industries. We surveyed our members and found that more than half of women and a quarter of men working in creative industries have encountered sexual harassment at work, according to a survey by entertainment union Bectu.

Hundreds of Bectu members in broadcasting, theatre, the arts, film and telecommunications shared a raft of concerns about sexual harassment – from lewd comments to unwanted advances in the workplace.

The survey also uncovered how a culture of fear – with workers terrified their future prospects will be damaged if they complain – leaves people too scared to speak out. Freelance workers are particularly vulnerable, fearing they will be labelled as troublemakers and cut adrift.

The detailed findings are published this week (January 23) as Bectu launches its flagship ‘Dignity at Work’ campaign. The campaign aims to champion workers’ rights to dignity – from harassment and bullying to working hours and privacy – and highlight the role and responsibility of unions in improving workplace culture.

 Bectu’s survey revealed:
  • More than half (51%) of women and a quarter (28%) of men have experienced or witnessed bullying, harassment or unwanted behaviour on grounds of sex
  • Workers are exposed to sexual harassment, sexual remarks and sexist behaviour more than any other kind of inappropriate behaviour
  • More than half (58%) of respondents have experienced or witnessed “jokes” of a sexual nature
  • Half (50%) have experienced or witnessed comments of a sexual nature
  • More than one third (35%) have experienced or witnessed unwanted comments about body or appearance
  • A quarter (25%) have experienced or witnessed unwanted and/or inappropriate touching, hugging or kissing at work 18% have experienced or witnessed the circulation of pornography in the workplace

Far from being isolated incidents, the survey revealed that around half of all respondents had experienced or witnessed harassment on more than once occasion.

And it showed that fear of repercussion and a lack of trust in managers are major barriers to speaking out, with 43% saying they wouldn’t trust managers to deal with an issue and 42% saying they would be concerned about the impact on their career. Workers also harbour fears of damaging their working relationships; being blamed by colleagues, and not being taken seriously.

The survey, carried out in 2018, saw more than 700 Bectu members share their experiences. The full report is below:

Bectu workplace behaviours survey

Watch the Bectu Dignity at Work short film on sexual harassment.

Further resources

The following documents support the #DignityAtWork campaign and can be downloaded from our resource library: