RMT activist Mark Harding was arrested on a picket line in Hammersmith. Draconian bail conditions have been applied, undermining his ability to take part in legitimate trade union activity. Mark’s arrest is part of an ongoing clampdown on political dissent under the Tory-led coalition, which also includes the pre-emptive arrests at the 2011 Royal Wedding, the Critical Mass arrests at the 2012 Olympics, the mass arrests of anti-fascist activists in June and September 2013, and the ongoing repression, mass detention, and arrest faced by student activists in London, Birmingham, and elsewhere. Support Mark Harding, defend civil liberties!From the Defend Mark Harding Facebook page:
“Mark Harding, Branch Secretary of Hammersmith & City RMT is being victimised for carrying out his legitimate trade union activities. He was hauled off the picket line at Hammersmith by the police after a strikebreaking staff member got upset at being asked to respect the picket line.
“The complainant appears then to have made serious allegations to the police who, despite the complainant having no witnesses or corroboration, then arrested Mark. Mark has been charged under Section 241 of the Trade Unions and Labour Relations Act, which is a very heavy charge – “Intimidation or annoyance by violence or otherwise”.
“Mark’s bail conditions have been framed in such a way as to make it nigh on impossible to assist with the strike action in defence of jobs and conditions that he played such a part in delivering, or even to attend meetings connected with his union branch.
“This is a deliberate strategy by LU management to take out a leading activist at a crucial time in the dispute. RMT members will not stand idly by and see one of our most important activists sidelined.
“Mark has a tremendous record of building the RMT and defending and representing our members, both within and outside of LU. Now’s the time to repay all Mark’s hard work.”