Socialist Worker

If your union won't fight, should you leave it?

Issue No. 2227

Members of the other main union at the BBC—Bectu—originally voted strongly for strikes. But the lack of a lead from union leadership meant that members have now accepted the same deal that the NUJ rejected.

Around 500 workers have left Bectu and joined the NUJ since the start of the dispute so that they could go on strike.

This shows a healthy desire to join the action. But it takes some of the best activists out of Bectu branches.

The most effective form of solidarity would be for Bectu members collectively to refuse to cross picket lines—as they did in some areas.

Although Bectu’s leadership told staff they would support them if they didn’t want to cross picket lines, many workers are not confident to do that and fear being disciplined or sacked.

Some activists’ solution to the problem is to take out dual union membership—even if it is just for the strike days.

The solidarity during the strike was important, and the maximum unity among all workers at the BBC across the unions will be an important element of any success of the strike.

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