After eight days, the UCU industrial action has come to an end. It has been a privilege and an honour to have the mandate to stand in solidarity with the UCU striking staff over the past couple of weeks.
It was not just about bringing coffee over to the picket lines to have a chat and show support, or have a quick fitness sesh, or take a photo all together. It was about a lot more than that. It was about how the higher education sector is crumbling, and the consequences keep hitting staff and students the hardest.
The strikes at our university covered three major areas: pay, working conditions, and pensions. These are topics of high importance, as the present and future financial security, as well as our staff’s mental wellbeing are massively affected by these issues. But we quickly realised that this action’s aim went beyond them. At the Strike On: Teach Out events, we talked about a different type of education. We talked about issues that matter to all of us. We started to think about learning possibilities that don’t necessarily happen in a lecture hall – a new way to educate and get educated. It was beyond inspiring to see people united by a common cause, showing that the whole is more than just the sum of its parts.
We are acutely aware of how the most difficult part of strike action is the end, when you have to come back to work in practically the same conditions that brought you to strike in the first place. We stand with you in solidarity as you go back to work. We hope these issues are resolved quickly so that you can continue doing what you love without the fear of uncertainty and the burden of unsustainable workload.
Francesco, Jiani, Eve, Alisha, Tom, and Ruqia - SU Officers