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Picketing code to be updated to tackle intimidation

The Government response to the consultation, ‘Tackling intimidation of non-striking workers’, indicates that evidence was provided of people being intimidated by individuals on picket lines and the use of social media to intimidate workers who have chosen not to strike, including the online posting of photos of non-striking workers accompanied by derogatory comments. Having analysed almost 200 responses, the package of action to be taken forward includes strengthening the Code of Practice on Picketing to set out the rights and responsibilities of parties involved in, or affected by industrial disputes, including on the use of social media and protests linked to industrial disputes. In addition, the Government will work with the police, ACAS and other stakeholders to ensure that guidance fully reflects the practical steps necessary to ensure that picketing remains peaceful.

Many of the proposals originally put forward will not be progressed, including for unions to publish their plans on intended action during industrial disputes covering picketing, protests or a social media campaign. On the social media issue, the statutory Code of Practice, which is admissible in evidence before any court, tribunal or the Central Arbitration Committee where considered relevant, will now cover its use.

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