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27.07.2020 / News / Press releases /

“Stop the Met’s criminalisation of strikes” says barrister in legal challenge to Metropolitan Police

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
27/07/2020

“Stop the Met’s criminalisation of strikes” says barrister in legal challenge to Metropolitan Police

  • Trade union United Voices of the World (UVW) launches crowdfunder to take Metropolitan Police to court over unlawful January picket line arrest of former Head of Legal Department Franck Magennis
  • The Garden Court Chambers barrister, in whose name the legal challenge is being brought, says his arrest intimidated striking workers, prevented them from exercising their legal right to strike, and is another chilling incident of “political policing” by the Metropolitan Police 
  • The fundraiser will raise funds to cover the Metropolitan Police’s costs if the case is unsuccessful
  • Mr Magennis has pledged to donate all proceeds and compensation to the UVW strike fund in the event of the case’s success

The trade union United Voices of the World (UVW) has launched a fundraiser so its former Head of Legal, Franck Magennis, a barrister with Garden Court Chambers, can take legal action against the Metropolitan Police after being unlawfully arrested on a picket line in January of this year.

The arrest, which took place on January 13th at St. George’s University of London, saw Mr Magennis handcuffed and detained in mid-conversation with a Metropolitan Police officer as he inquired into the legality of workers and UVW staff being threatened with arrest under Section 119 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008.

The arrest led to the breakup of the workers’ picket and subsequently saw St. George’s University of London management routinely call the police on striking workers in the days after the arrest – on each occasion workers and UVW staff were threatened with arrest under Section 119 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008.

It is understood the fundraiser will cover the Metropolitan Police’s legal costs if the legal claim against them is unsuccessful.

Speaking about the significance of the case Mr Magennis said: “My unlawful arrest is another episode of the Metropolitan Police brazenly attacking trade unionists; only a few weeks before a Judge had to instruct jurors to throw out a nonsense case against trade unionist James Farrar for using a megaphone which the police said had been assault because it hurt two officer’s eardrums. This case is now more important than ever, as the police have clearly been emboldened by the anti-worker rhetoric of Boris Johnson’s Conservative government and think they can act with impunity, putting workers’ rights and civil rights at risk. By supporting UVW’s crowdfunder we can send a message that we won’t tolerate these attacks on the fundamental and human right to strike.”

Susie Labinjoh, of Hodge Jones & Allen solicitors, and Mr Magennis’s lawyer said, “Magennis’s arrest clearly raises important constitutional issues. We will be looking at all legal avenues to ensure that police are held to account, that trade union members are not criminalised for going on strike, and that people are not arbitrarily arrested. The police must respect and uphold union members’ right to protest’.

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Editors notes

For more information and quotes please contact:

Kane Shaw, email. kane@uvwunion.org.uk 07950 927798

If you wish to donate to the fundraiser you can do so here.

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