The European Commission (EC) is backing Bectu's legal challenge against the UK government over paid holiday rights for freelancers, writes Tara Conlan.
Bectu is taking the UK government to the European Court of Justice, arguing that under the Working Time Directive, UK TV and radio freelancers should be entitled to paid annual leave without exception.

But the broadcasting union says the government's implementation of the directive limits the entitlement to those with contracts of 13 weeks or more (Broadcast, 8.1.99). Holiday should instead be calculated at a pro-rata rate of four weeks a year, Bectu claims.

Bectu general secretary Roger Bolton hailed the EC's support as vindication of its challenge, saying the case had been 'immeasurably strengthened'.

Producers' alliance Pact has already agreed to the holiday terms in an agreement with Bectu (Broadcast, 4.6.99), although they are only recommendations for producers.

A Bectu spokeswoman added: 'We wanted to make sure the agreement was backed up by law. In the past, some producers have not stuck to it.'

Bectu started proceedings against the government in December 1998 and was given leave by the High Court in April 1999 to take its case to the European Court of Justice.