Association of Broadcasting Staff

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Annual Council agenda, reports, 1971; Broadcast, 1974-1977 (incomplete); rules, 1969

Administrative / Biographical History

The Association originated in discussions which took place in the late 1930s at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The discussions were interrupted by the outbreak of war in September 1939 but the BBC Staff (Wartime) Association was established in May 1940 and the Association of BBC Engineers in 1941. These amalgamated in 1945 to form the BBC Staff Association, which was not affiliated to the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and was seen by many other trade unionists in this period as insufficiently independent of the employer. As a result, the Staff Association faced bitter attacks on its position in the late 1940s by a number of affiliated trade unions which, under the aegis of the TUC, sought recognition from the BBC. The attack on the Staff Association's position, however, had only limited success. The Beveridge report on broadcasting of 1951 strengthened the Association's position by acknowledging the Association's independence of the BBC. The subsequent recognition of outside unions by the BBC maintained the Association's position as the main organisation representing BBC staff. In March 1956 the Association's title was changed to the Association of Broadcasting Staff (ABS) as a result of the Association's attempt to extend its aegis in the aftermath of the introduction of commercial television. This led to internecine union conflict in the period 1955-1957 after which the ABS was ousted from the independent television companies. Despite that reverse, the Association gained recognition by the Independent Television (subsequently Broadcasting) Authority as the sole representative body for its staff. The Association affiliated to the TUC in 1963 and its title changed again in 1974 to become the Association of Broadcasting and Allied Staffs. In 1984 together with the National Association of Theatrical Television and Kine Employees it formed the interim body the Entertainment Trades Alliance which became the fully merged body the Broadcasting and Entertainment Trades Alliance in 1985.


The Modern Records Centre uses a classification scheme. For further details of the scheme, see It is compatible with ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description (2000).

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on access to these papers.

Acquisition Information

This collection was transferred from the University Library ref. 41T.

Other Finding Aids

A copy of this collection-level description and a box list are available in paper format in the Centre's searchroom.

An authority record exists for the Association of Broadcasting Staff (GB 152 AAR1214).

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this archive, apart from the requirements of copyright law.

Appraisal Information

This collection has been weeded for duplicates.


Further deposits are not expected.

Related Material

The Modern Records Centre also holds archives of the Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union, 1972-1992 (MSS.354) and publications of the Association of Broadcasting and Allied Staffs (MSS.437/ABAS).