Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

This trades council believes that the Tories’ Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is an attack on the democratic right to protest, falsely and hypocritically justifying these restrictions on Covid
We note that:-
• the government factsheet on the Bill explains that it will “strengthen police powers to tackle non-violent protests that have a significant disruptive effect on the public or on access to Parliament”
• Under this proposed legislation we face a fine of £2,500 for not following police restrictions over how we conduct our protests.
• Effective protest that is considered a “public nuisance”, will now be a statutory offence rather than a common law offence.
• The police will have the power to assume protesters have knowledge of conditions set on a protest, making it easier to convict for ‘breaches’ of their undemocratic restrictions.
• The Home Secretary will have the power, through secondary legislation, to define “serious disruption to the activities of an organisation”.
We believe that the Bill will be used against workers to restrict their right to protest, picket and strike. Already during the pandemic, police have used Covid rules to disperse picket lines in Yorkshire and Scotland. This is back on successive anti-union laws, which are amongst the most undemocratic and restrictive in Western Europe
We believe that the trade union movement has the potential mass organisation and power to play the leading role in building a mass movement to oppose the Bill as it debated in Parliament and should it be passed into law
Therefore we resolve:-
• To call on the TUC to organise an emergency meeting of the unions to organise a national day of socially-distanced protests as soon as possible to oppose the Bill. We demand democratic control of the police, fighting for workplace safety and against Tory austerity and the bosses’ offensive. There should be a national demonstration when Covid restrictions lift. This should lay the basis for co-ordinated strike action.