General election: how Bectu is campaigning for members, regardless of the outcome

Philippa Childs · 3 June 2024

This will be the most important general election in a generation. Opinion polls point to the first change in government in almost fifteen years.

And regardless of which party ultimately takes office, there will be many new MPs – with more than 100 incumbent MPs having already announced they will not be re-standing when the country goes to the polls.

Bectu, as a sector of Prospect, is not a partisan union – we are proudly independent and not affiliated to any political party.

But our work is intrinsically political and, as well as organising in workplaces, we campaign for policies at a national level that will benefit our members: from those affecting members across the creative industries, to specific policies that will benefit the sectors you work in.

This election will be pivotal in addressing the challenges faced by Bectu sector members and will ultimately shape the future of the creative industries. On our general election hub you can read about some of our policy priorities that we want the next government to address for the sector.

Creative UK recently launched its UK General Election manifesto, setting out how, with the right investment from both government and industry, the creative industries can generate social and economic prosperity. Bectu has strongly endorsed this manifesto, which calls for ‘radical new action’ to respond to key issues facing the sector, such as removing barriers to access and introducing new funding models.

The manifesto was formed using insights from leading organisations across the creative industries, including Bectu, and is a critical document that sets out the progress we need to secure a better deal for creative workers.
We also have information on how to register to vote and will soon be publishing guides for how you can engage with candidates and parties in advance of election day.

What we want to see

Here at Bectu, we have long been lobbying for policies that will address the challenges that our members face working in the creative sector. We have launched many campaigns, developed with members and our expert staff over many years, to tackle problems such as bullying and harassment, the long hours culture and extending working rights for freelancers.

We have also been hard at work for many months, speaking with politicians across the political spectrum, in anticipation of a general election at some point in 2024.

There are countless policy changes that I would like to see the next government put in action for our members, but here are some key areas of interest:

  • Proper and sustained investment in the creative workforce: A future government must invest not only in creative businesses but also in the workforce that has long been struggling and is a critical part of the interdependent ecosystem of the creative industries.
  • Support the work of the Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority (CIISA): Government must support the work of the recently established CIISA and encourage industry buy-in to this initiative to ensure the industry meaningfully tackles its bullying and harassment problem.
  • Provide financial security and support for the self-employed and freelancers: This can be achieved through policies such as equalising sick pay, bringing leave and flexibility entitlements for self-employed new parents into line with those enjoyed by employees, and providing income security that reflects the risks faced by the self-employed.
  • Establish a safety net for freelancers: Across Europe, there are schemes the government could learn from to do so. In France, the ‘regime des salaries intermittent du spectacle’ provides an unemployment insurance scheme for creative workers which provides benefits for periods of unemployment, providing they had a significant number of hours in work.
  • Appoint a freelance commissioner: Who will work with trade unions and relevant industries to champion and advocate for the freelance workforce within government.
  • Implement Bectu’s manifesto for the BBC: The BBC’s funding model has been under threat in recent years, putting the future of our members’ jobs in jeopardy. A future government must ensure adequate future funding so that the BBC can continue as an incubator of British skills and talent. Our manifesto outlines our vision for decent funding, fair pay and secure jobs.
  • Work with industry to demand a greater focus on equality and diversity: To ensure that careers in the creative industries are open to all. This includes tackling the structural challenges that leave workers feeling isolated, that damage their mental health and devastate their financial security.

Whatever the outcome of the general election, we will continue to fight and campaign for you and with you in your workplaces and in Westminster.

Our strength as a union comes from our numbers – so why not use this important time of increased political interest to ask a colleague to join Bectu? Or if you’re not a member, join our movement and be supported at work and ensure your voice is heard.

Philippa Childs, Head of Bectu

Not a Bectu member? Join us today

Do you like what you’ve read on this page? If so, join our movement – we’d love to welcome you. We’re working hard for a better working future for all our members and will hold whoever wins the election to account.
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