Unite legal win: the right to picket is a human right

WATCH: Unite AGS Howard Beckett breaks the good news to striking Optare workers after Unite legal challenge over picketing

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Last week, Unite secured a major victory for the entire labour movement,  after the government was forced to confirm that workers taking lawful industrial action have a right to picket their workplace during the Covid-19 lockdown following a Unite legal challenge.

The case emerged as a result of Unite members who were on strike at Optare bus factory in Sherburn in Elmet earlier this month and who were undertaking socially distanced picketing, being moved on by the police and warned that if they returned they would be issued with penalty notices for breaking lockdown rules.

Unite’s legal case was based on the right to picket being a fundamental right protected by the Human Rights Act.

The government finally accepted this argument and has issued guidance to all police forces which makes it clear that workers can undertake socially distanced picketing, as it is covered by the exception on the right to go to work during the lockdown.

Watch in the film below as Unite assistant general secretary for legal services Howard Beckett breaks the news to Optare workers that their picket stays after the government backed down.

Film by Martin Scanlon

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