Llynn Lloyd Obituary Stage Screen and Radio.
When I first became active in ACTT in the early 1980s, I was in awe of both Lynn Lloyd and her partner Margaret Watts: they seemed to me to epitomise what it was to be an activist. They were almost omnipresent at meetings, organising freelance members both regionally and nationally. They were National Executive Committee members, and updated us, with an almost religious fervour, on all the ins and outs of the union’s internal politics – and there were many of those then, as indeed there are now!
Lynn Lloyd started her broadcasting career in the 1960s, as a 15-year-old, working in the postroom and registry at BBC Manchester, where she was always in trouble for taking too long because the comedy writers held her back until they had tried out all their new jokes on her, and where she was given special responsibility for Pinky and Perky! She regularly formed part of the audience for Top of the Pops, to the envy of all her friends. With a strong working class and trade union oriented background she joined the ABS immediately, complaining that it felt more like a staff association than a real union. Five years later she moved to Granada as assistant film librarian where she joined ACTT, a trade union after her own heart.
Lynn rose through the ranks to become film librarian and then film researcher, before being headhunted to work as a production manager on the all-female current affairs programme, Broadside, in the early 80s. But she will be remembered most as a shop steward and union activist. She became shop steward of the film shop at Granada Television in the 70s and early eighties. As one of her members wrote: “It was as shop steward that she excelled, principally because she could be trusted absolutely, by both union members and management, and so was respected by all who had dealings with her.”
When television was still a licence to print money, Lynn was very proud of the fact that she led five strikes, and ‘took her members out unanimous, and brought them back unanimous’, always with better pay and conditions than they had before. She led the negotiations at Granada for new crewing levels following the introduction of electronic news gathering (ENG) and all the other changes that would entail, fighting long and hard with management to ensure equitable terms and conditions for her members.
Lynn was a member of ACTT’s Regional Division, a member of General Council, an NEC member, a member of the finance and general purposes committee and a vice-president of ACTT. Margaret and Lynn were both active together for a long time on PACT negotiations and played a major role in ACTT’s negotiations for amalgamation with the BBC union BETA to form BECTU.
At the height of the women’s movement Lynn spoke passionately at ACTT’s annual conference, and her proposition resulted in the appointment of the union’s first equality officer, and later the instigation of the women’s conference. This raised women’s consciousness about the union, built their confidence and encouraged them to become activists. One of the favourite sessions was known as the ‘dirty tricks session’ during which Lynn and Margaret instructed women in the black arts of union meeting protocol, so they could filibuster, raise points of order, move next business, and challenge the chair, to maximum effect. I know that generations of women activists’ achievements are a direct result of Lynn’s groundbreaking work in encouraging and promoting women within the trade union movement. The fact that BECTU’s last two, and current president have been women is in no small part a direct result of Lynn’s inspiration.
In October 2016 I presented Lynn and Margaret with their BECTU Honorary Membership certificates. It is testament to Lynn’s strength of character that my predominant memory of that last visit is one of laughter. At one point, as part of an interview for BECTU’s History Project, I asked Lynn why she decided to leave ITV and she said that she felt she had achieved many things, including “the copulating in the cutting room defence”. I honestly thought I had misheard, but after the interview was over I double checked. They both dissolved into laughter and Lynn explained that a young editor had been caught in flagrante delicto with a colleague in the cutting room. She succeeded in dismissing the disciplinary by arguing custom and practice, offering to give the names of senior managers found over the years in similar situations!
Lynn was kind, generous, feisty, funny and immensely courageous. Despite her deteriorating health towards the end, she continued to be an active socialist and feminist in the best sense of those words. At her final celebration and farewell, at her request, she came in to the Strawbs singing “You can’t get me, I’m part of the union” and went out to the Red Flag.
Goodbye my friend. You will be missed, but your legacy lives on.