On 6 November, the police dispersed a covid-distanced picket line over pay at the Optare bus factory in Sherburn-in-Elmet, near Selby in North Yorkshire. They warned strikers they would be issued with penalty notices for breaking lockdown rules if they returned.
But after a legal challenge from Unite the Union and the scheduling of a judicial review against the North Yorkshire Chief Constable and the Secretary of State for Health, the government conceded the right to picket should be upheld. It says it will issue guidance to all police forces that workers can undertake covid-distanced picketing.
As Unite rightly points out, employers have not suspended their struggle during the Covid crisis, but in many cases taken advantage of it to attack workers. Unite says the right to picket has been “secured”. We must assert it on the ground.