Striking security guards, members of the UVW union, were legally striking and picketing at St George’s, University of London, on 13 January 2020. Police threatened the striking workers and union officials with mass arrest under Section 119 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008. Franck Magennis, UVW barrister and trade union official, was arrested and handcuffed in mid-conversation with a police officer as he enquired into the legality of the threatened arrests. As a result, the picket-line fell apart. This is part of a series of attacks by the Met Police on trade unionists.
UVW’s solicitors are “looking at all legal avenues to ensure that the police are held to account, that trade union members are not criminalised for going on strike, and that people are not arbitrarily arrested.” They are raising (pledged) money — a £30,000 target by 25 August — to ensure they can cover severe legal costs if they lose. If they win, or raise money over the target, it will go towards the UVW strike fund.