GMB Three acquitted of trumped-up picketing charges

By a Free Our Unions supporter

The “GMB Three” are GMB reps who were arrested during a lawful industrial dispute with Biffa, contractors to Wealden District Council in East Sussex, in May 2022.  They were charged with wilful obstruction of a highway on 27 May 2022 at Amberstone depot.  
The case came to court on 23 March 2023 after several postponements.  There was a solidarity demonstration of trade unionists, called by the GMB and supported by the local trades council, outside Brighton Magistrates Court.
In addition to the demonstration, there was a very loud mass drive-by of bin lorries which went around the courthouse several times.
Mark Turner, GMB Branch Secretary, said:
“The continuation of the case against the ‘GMB Three’ is frankly a waste of public money. All those who believe in human rights, the right to freedom of assembly and protest should be watching this case closely.  It is a blatant attempt by employers and the state to remove the rights of those who wish to protest.”  
In the event the case against the three collapsed within minutes, apparently because the picket was not actually on the highway at all, but on private land. 

This begs the question of why it was decided to press on with a criminal case in the face of such flimsy evidence.  It seems clear that it was an attempt to intimidate trade unionists engaged in legitimate trade union activity.

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