RMT demands Southern end harassment of Brighton pickets

RMT demands Southern end harassment of Brighton pickets

1 September 2017

RMT Press Office

RMT writes to Southern/GTR to demand an end to bullying and harassment of pickets in Brighton

RAIL UNION RMT has today written to Southern/GTR demanding an end to the bullying, intimidation and harassment of pickets during the current dispute after a shocking incident in Brighton this morning.

In the letter to Southern/GTR boss Peter Evans, RMT General Secretary Mick Cash sets out the facts and demands that the company cease their threats immediately:

“I was shocked to find that at 04.00 this morning three RMT pickets at Brighton were approached by three BTP Officers, three Southern Security Guards and ten minutes later a Southern Manager - seven people intimidating three pickets.

They started by stating my members should leave as they were on private property. It was pointed out that even by your own admission the property is owned by Network Rail, not Southern, and Network Rail has not asked the pickets to leave. It was suggested that the pickets stand outside the adjacent hotel. Perhaps you can explain why our pickets should picket a hotel – and presumably be on their private property.

Your manager accused my members of being on an illegal picket and when the paperwork was shown to him and the BTP officers, showing clearly that one of the pickets was the nominated picket supervisor, they stated that as the paperwork was produced by the union itself it wasn’t legal. This is absolutely wrong and you should advise you managers that they should be aware of the legal requirements and not try and make up the rules to suit themselves and their augments. The pickets had also registered with the Sussex Police and yet again this was questioned. It was stated by your representative that the reference number given by the Sussex Police to confirm registration of the picket and the supervisor were not recognised. I think again you need to speak to you managers as they appear to be questioning the honesty of the pickets and indeed the Sussex police. An extraordinary position to take.

To add to the intimidation your manager informed my picket supervisor that he was filming the discussion on a bodycam. However, despite best practice he only decided to do so halfway through the intimidation. He also harassed my members by continuously asking if they were going to leave the premises even to the point where he said ‘for the fourth time are you leaving’. He had been advised that the pickets were not leaving as they felt they had a legal right to be there, it is bullying to keep asking the same question when you know you are going to get the same answer.

Can I say that over the years we have picketed on many occasions and in many locations as is our legal right – albeit a more and more difficult one. There have been very few instances of problems and most companies, whilst obviously not being happy, respect our right to do so and do not act in the way your company has on this occasion. To send 7 people to try and intimidate a legal picket is unacceptable and I am seeking your assurance that this will cease immediately.”

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Tagged with: Southern, GTR, Guards Dispute