State submits no evidence in persecution of workers as trial collapses in farce
The prosecution of the so-called ‘GMB three’ has collapsed in farce. The three had been arrested last May charged with wilful obstruction of the highway under the Thatcherite 1980 Highways Act anti-strike law after attempting to ask drivers not to cross their picket line at the Biffa waste management company depot in East Sussex. One of the vehicles involved was described as “a manager driving a vehicle who GMB and the strikers believe does not have the correct paperwork to drive the vehicle he was in”.
The trio were found not guilty at Brighton Law Courts on Friday after the ‘crown’ submitted no evidence against them.
GMB officer Gary Palmer attacked the political nature of the case:
This was always a political case about the rights of people during a cost-of-living crisis to win enough money to look after their families. Our members were taking part in lawful industrial action to win a decent pay rise. This was an attempt by the company and the police to restrict the right to protest.”
Local trades council chair Simon Hester noted at the time of the arrests that the Tory-run Wealden District Council was feeling the pressure over the strike’s impact on its outsourced refuse collection:
A number of GMB full-time workers and I were blocking vans from leaving the depot. We knew Friday would be a stand-off because the council had recalled all the vans to the Amberstone depot on Thursday.
“Vehicles were in line waiting to leave the depot, and I was in front of the trucks. They sent officers to deal with pickets. When the chief inspector arrived, he said we would be arrested for blocking a highway.
“He also made it clear that we needed to stop blocking vans because public pressure on the council to clear the streets of rubbish was starting to mount.
Huge congratulations to the GMB Three, but if the CPS did not intend to put forward any evidence why on earth was the case allowed to proceed so far as to get anywhere near a courtroom?
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