asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will investigate the working of the Employment Act 1980 with special regard to picketing during the recent dispute at BL Cars; and if he will make a statement.
The Government totally condemn those responsible for the scenes of disorder which occurred outside some BL plants at the beginning of last week. understand that those present were, in the main, employees of BL and they were not therefore acting unlawfully by reason only of the fact that they were picketing in contravention of the picketing provisions of the Employment Act 1980. Clearly, however, the ordinary civil and criminal law applied. The maintenance of public order and the enforcement of the criminal law are matters for the operational judgment of the chief officers of police concerned.