Don’t let Unite leaders jail Gordon McNeill

Protest Outside Belfast High Court 9.30am Wednesday 3 September

Senior officials of the Unite trade union are continuing in their attempt to have sacked Belfast Airport Shop Steward, Gordon McNeill jailed for the “crime” of protesting outside an empty building.

The case will be heard in Belfast High Court on Wednesday morning. There will be a protest outside the court from 9.30am.

A protest was held at lunchtime today outside Unite’s Antrim Road offices. After the protest Gordon McNeill commented:

“I am dismayed that the top leaders of my union are prepared to see me go to jail rather than concede my basic and reasonable demand that the compensation they paid my fellow shop stewards should also be paid to me, but without the gagging clause that would prevent me from bringing out the truth about what happened in this dispute.

“It really is a low point in the history of trade unionism that the Unite leadership are prepared to imprison me because I sat on a garden chair outside an empty Transport House. I was interfering with no one. How could I have been when the Unite officials have moved from the building to the Antrim Road?

“Today, during our protest at Antrim Road, we had the unbecoming spectacle of Unite Regional Secretary, Jimmy Kelly, coming out of the building to shout insults at the protestors, making ridiculous accusations that we are “anti trade union scum”, and compared us with “fascists”.

“I would like to remind Mr Kelly that I have just fought and won a long battle with my former employer, ICTS, and, in doing so, have secured a victory for all trade unionists. My campaign is to defend my basic democratic right to free speech and my right to protest. It is Jimmy Kelly, along with Unite General Secretary, Tony Woodley, who are trying to deny these rights.

“If they succeed in adding their name to the long list of anti union employers and governments who jail trade union activists all they will have done is place an indelible stain against their own reputations as trade union leaders. My campaign for justice will continue.”

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