Nine days of strike action in nine pictures
The final week of industrial action is well underway across the capital. Nine out of a total fourteen strike days are over, and action is due to last until Friday.
At LondonStudent, we’ve found nine images which sum up the strikes so far. In no particular order:
1. It’s not a student strike until the flares come out.
Frances Corner is Goldsmiths’ new Warden. She came under fire from the Students’ Union earlier this year for furthering the ‘Evolving Goldsmiths’ programme.
The Union says that staff cuts will negatively impact teaching and student experience at the College, whilst the closure of the on-campus gym has prompted criticism from students and Lewisham councillors. There is even an official dispute between the Goldsmiths UCU branch and senior management over the reforms.
At Goldsmiths, students are also a part of the fight back. Georgia Hodges captured this dramatic action on strikes day one:
2. Meanwhile, things got musical down the Strand.
Is this a debut for Virginia and the Four Fights? Perhaps.
There’s a video, too:
Profile from the picket line: Virginia and the Four Fights • all the great protest tunes • @yaaesther ‘s harmonies to die for • check out Times … a-Changin’ here • @KCL_UCU #UCUstrikesback @BrianHMur @lucycmunro @jtneuhauser pic.twitter.com/SAZvjsy8iW— KCL English UCU (@ucu_eng_kcl) March 3, 2020
3. Angela supports the strikes!
Angela Rayner spoke outside the Universities UK (UUK) HQ in Bloomsbury last month, offering “solidarity” to striking lecturers.
Rayner is the Shadow Education Secretary.
In a tweet on February 20, Rayner urged employers to “get back around the table and treat staff with the dignity they deserve”.
The UCU has urged her opposite numbers in the Conservative cabinet to put “pressure on the employers’ representatives to bring forward an improved offer that properly addresses” real-terms pay decreases and pension cuts.
Union leaders claim that Sam Gyimah, who was a Conservative Party minister at the time, made “a valuable intervention along these lines” in 2018.
The UCU says that it would welcome the Universities Minister’s support in “pushing for a resolution as quickly as possible.”
4. Jeremy Corbyn came along, too…
Here’s Jeremy Corbyn outside SOAS.
5. …and so did John McDonnell.
John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor, also came to SOAS. He had visited UCL beforehand to explain how the UCU strikes are inspiring him.
In the run-up to the 2019 General Election, Labour promised six years’ free education for adults, plus provision for a National Education Service in its first budget. The Green Party also promised to scrap tuition fees during the 2019 Election, but neither party took Parliament.
6. But Goldsmiths had Twister. That’s a win.
Someone brought Twister to the picket line at Goldsmiths. Need we say more?
7. Back in Bloomsbury, here’s #RoyalScab.
Princess Anne, the Chancellor of the University of London, crossed picket lines outside Birkbeck. Some UCU strikers have come up with a hash-tag to sum up her non-support for the UCU strikes. It’s #RoyalScab.
Some picketers made valiant efforts to bring the princess on side. They failed.
8. Ads were hacked.
Commuters around St Pancras were greeted with these (really stunning) adverts.
Students and supporters of the strike ‘hacked’ bus stops around the UUK HQ to discourage visitors from crossing university picket lines in the area.
9. And we couldn’t not mention our favourite picket line pup…
Last but not least, Daisy is on strike with UAL staff!
She’s lost her UCU arm-(torso)-band though.
Here she is on Tavistock Square. Maybe it was Daisy who got employers to “work with [the UCU] with genuine commitment on longer-term reforms to USS and they have started to push the scheme to adopt a better approach to its valuation.”
At least, that’s how UCU General Secretary Jo Grady saw it last week.
UUK seemed to disagree.
When the UCU reported that negotiators would be willing to accept a mid-point pension contributions rate (of 8.4pc, rather than the rejected 9.1pc), a UUK spokesperson said, “we do not see this proposal as a serious move from UCU to find common ground.”
As a result, the dispute continues.
Feature image: Shabbir Lakha.