By A Conference Delegate
THE ANNUAL conference of the broadcasting and media union BECTU took place last weekend. Disaffection with the Labour Party was more obvious than ever before. Three branches put forward motions to disaffiliate from the Labour Party. Around one third of delegates voted in favour of ending or reviewing the union's relationship with Labour. That was despite the union's leaders saying that such a move would lead to the Tories getting back in.
Most delegates did not go as far as voting to sever all links with the Labour Party, but they did welcome Ken Livingstone's election as London mayor. They overwhelmingly passed a motion instructing the union's general secretary to write to Ken Livingstone congratulating him on his victory, and urging the union to forge a close relationship with the new mayor.
BECTU is not a traditionally left wing union, and that makes the vote all the more significant. The conference also demanded opposition to New Labour measures such as privatisation, NHS underfunding and the low level of the minimum wage. Delegates passed a motion calling for opposition to all forms of privatisation including PFI and PPP.
There was overwhelming support for a motion condemning Russia's murderous war in Chechnya. Over two thirds of delegates signed a petition in support of the campaign at the BBC's World Service against a contract policy which discriminates against black workers. A resolution backing the campaign and promising industrial action to defend two activists who face victimisation was passed overwhelmingly.