Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/798/18144
State attacks trade union action
The RMT strike on 6 February saw one of the most serious attacks by the state on trade union organisation in decades.
Mark Harding, RMT Hammersmith and Fulham branch secretary, was arrested on the picket line by police while conducting lawful trade union activity. The police held him in a cell for 13 hours.
He was charged with "intimidation or annoyance by violence or otherwise". The purpose of these charges became clear when Mark's bail conditions were imposed: Not to be within Hammersmith Metropolitan Line station and not to be actively involved in any RMT trade union or any other union associated with LUL/TFL or to be in attendance at any organised industrial action until this case is finalised.
These were the same tactics used in the miners' strike when the full force of the state was used against the NUM.
These anti-trade laws are a licence for the employers to victimise trade unionists. These are the same laws that went untouched by 13 years of Labour government.
The only way these laws will be thrown in the dustbin is if the trade unions challenge them and form their own political party that can roll them back.
- Update. It seems that the bail conditions have been dropped after protests. Up to 150 RMT members and other trade unionists crammed into an emergency solidarity meeting to support Mark on 10 February. The meeting was hosted by Mark's RMT Hammersmith and City branch. While welcoming the dropping of the disgraceful bail conditions, it sent a clear message that until Mark is in the clear, the campaign goes on.
A tube driver who worked last Wednesday during the strike complained of chest pains but was instructed to carry on driving from Golders Green to Morden with a train full of passengers.
He then had a heart attack and was taken to hospital. It shows the callous disregard for the safety of staff and the public coming from the Mayor and his cronies.
Steve Hedley, RMT assistant general secretary, via Facebook
In The Socialist 12 February 2014:
Socialist Party news and analysis
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
London Underground dispute
Socialist Party workplace news
Reviews and readers' comments
Socialist Party reports and campaigns