The Tories’ Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill has not, so far, been substantially amended in Parliament. It still constitutes an assault on the right to protest, on workers’ rights to strike and picket, on migrants and on Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.
The Bill’s second reading in the House of Lords has been set for 14 September. Yet the latest round of protests against the Bill, on 21 August, was small and weak, with hundreds rather than thousands in London.
There are multiple reasons why that is the case. One is that the labour movement has failed to mobilise against the Bill — despite even the threat it poses to trade union rights specifically (see the Free Our Unions briefing by Gregor Gall).
Most union general secretaries have signed a new open letter against the Bill (with the notable exception, so far, of GMB’s Gary Smith). Even that is a step up from unions’ general silence since May at least.
We should continue to push for union and Labour organisations to vocally speak out and actually mobilise their members against the Bill; and to raise earlier — Thatcherite and Blairite — restrictions on rights to protest and strike.