Picketing is a form of protest in which people (called picketers)http://dictionary.reference.com/search?r=2&q=picketer congregate outside a place of work or location where an event is taking place. Often, this is done in an attempt to dissuade others from going in ("crossing the picket line"), but it can also be done to draw public attention to a cause. Pickets normally endeavor to be non-violent. It can have a number of aims, but is generally to put pressure on the party targeted to meet particular demands. This pressure is achieved by harming the business through loss of customers and negative publicity, or by discouraging or preventing workers from entering the site and thereby preventing the business from operating normally.
Picketing is a common tactic used by trade unions during strikes, who will try to prevent dissident members of the union, members of other unions and ununionised workers from working. Those who cross the picket line and work despite the strike are known pejoratively as scabs.
Types of picketPicketing, as long as it does not cause obstruction to a highway or intimidation, is legal in many countries and in line with freedom of assembly laws, though many countries do have restrictions on the use of picketing.
In the UK the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 gives protection under civil law for pickets who are acting in connection with an industrial dispute at or near their workplace who are using their picketing to peacefully obtain or communicate information or peacefully persuading any person to work or abstain from working. However, many employers have recently taken to gaining injunctions to limit the effect of picketing outside their work place. The granting of injunctions tends to be based on the accusation of intimidation or in general on non-peaceful behaviour and the claim that numbers of the pickers are not from the affected work place. Historically, picketing was banned by a Liberal government in the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1871 but then decriminalised by a Conservative government with the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act 1875.
In the US any strike activity was hard to organise in the early 1900s, however picketing became more common after the Norris-LaGuardia Act of 1932, which limited the ability of employers to gain injunctions to stop strikes, and further legislation which supported the right to organise for the unions. Mass picketing and secondary picketing was however outlawed by the The Taft-Hartley Labor Act (1947). Some kinds of pickets are constitutionally protected.
Notes and references
picketing in German: Streikposten
picketing in Spanish: Piquete
picketing in French: Piquet de grève
picketing in Lithuanian: Piketas
picketing in Serbian: Piketing
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