Court upholds Gordon McNeill’s right to protest
Unite leaders forced to back down from their attempt to imprison him.
Unite leaders’ attempt to cripple Gordon with legal costs thrown out by the court
“I will now be returning to my lawful protest outside Transport House” Gordon McNeill
Next protest will begin at 1pm tomorrow (Thursday 4 September)
The case brought by the Unite leadership against sacked airport shop steward, Gordon McNeill, was heard in the Belfast High Court this morning. Unite were attempting to have Gordon imprisoned for breaking an injunction barring him from protesting at Transport House.
Unite were forced to back off from their attempt to put Gordon in prison, but only because they had been made aware of the huge repercussions this would cause throughout the trade union movement in Britain, Ireland and beyond.
Instead they attempted to use financial pressure to force Gordon into a settlement with the union on its terms. They tried to have the whole cost of the case awarded against him. But the Court threw this out and the costs of bringing this case will now be added to the tens of thousands of pounds of unnecessary and wasted expenditure clocked up by Unite’s leaders in their efforts to silence Gordon McNeill.
The Court also upheld Gordon’s right to protest on the pavement outside Transport House. This means he can legally return to the spot outside the building where the court summons was served on him last Friday.
Following the decision Gordon McNeill announced that he will now be resuming his lawful protest starting at 1pm tomorrow. After the case Gordon commented:
“The attempt by Jimmy Kelly and Tony Woodley to have me imprisoned and to take away my democratic right to protest has fallen flat on its face.
“I have made it clear all along that my protests are not an attempt to disrupt the work of the union. I am just trying to get the facts of this dispute across to Unite members and to the public at large.
“I will now continue to do so. All I am asking is that the compensation they gave my two shop steward colleagues is given to me but without the clause that would gag me from ever again commenting on how our trade union officials handled our dispute.
“As soon as they do that my protests will end. But I will not be bribed into silence and, until the gagging clause is removed, I have no option but to continue to protest and publicise this case.
“My campaign is not against my union. Bringing out the truth about what happened will strengthen the union as it means that bad practices can be rooted out. Covering up those practices will guarantee that they continue.
“Nor are the Unite leadership’s actions in this an attempt to “defend” the union as they would have us believe. Their only interest is to defend themselves by trying to suppress the truth about what they have done. They will never succeed in this.”