“If a person, or group of people, assembled in your place of work, shoving offensive material in your face, howling at you as a chorus, blocking you as you attempted to walk from one place to another, you’d have the opportunity to charge them with harassment, or bullying.”
So wrote Guardian columnist Van (Vanessa?) Badham (we’re unsure why she truncates her first name, but whatever!) Our spirits rose upon reading these fine words. At last, common sense in the The Guardian on industrial relations. Surely this was a description of a standard union picket line, shouting down strike breakers as “scabs,” hurling abuse at management (“the bosses”), and blocking people going about their daily routines and those just trying to make a dollar and put bread on the table at home.
“It’s a recognition that underscores a consensus value in Australia: that people have the right to go about their business as individuals without harassment, abuse or the malicious interference of others. It’s an underlying principle of civil law that the state, police and judiciary have the obligation to protect the citizenry from harm.”
We could not agree more. So true. Summon a choir and sing the Hallelujah chorus! Although Van’s column is actually about protesters outside abortion clinics, we think it applies equally to union picket lines, and other tactics of bullying and intimidation regularly employed by unionists. We’re sure Van would too, in the spirit of her own article. After all, we’re all equal before the law. Aren’t we?