Received from: TUC Trades Union Councils Conference
Congress notes the proposal for an amendment to the Public Order Act (1986), entitled the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
This Act is a declared response to the actions of Extinction Rebellion and Black Lives Matter. It has a specific section on the policing of protests that gives the police extraordinary powers aimed at the very nature of protest.
It gives the home secretary the power to define ‘serious disruption’ as whatever she chooses with minimal scrutiny by parliament. The criteria for whether a protest can go ahead and will effectively be in the hands of the home secretary.
It proposes completely disproportionate punishments of up to ten years for criminal damage to a memorial (defined as “a building or other structure, or any other thing” which has “a commemorative purpose”).
It will effectively make the nomadic life of Gypsies and Travellers illegal. It is therefore overtly racist.
Congress believes the Bill is not only a threat to civil liberties and the right to protest in general but will, undoubtedly, be used against trade unions and their members going about perfectly legitimate activity.
i. urges all trades councils to oppose and campaign against this Bill
ii. calls on trades councils to seek to create the broadest possible alliance – in particular with those grass-roots campaigns directly affected, such as Extinction Rebellion and Black Lives Matter, and civil liberties organisations such as Liberty and Open Democracy
iii. calls on the Labour Party to oppose the Bill and the motives behind it.
TUC Trades Union Councils Conference