Reports from different campuses


February 21, 2020

QMUL striking workers

The bad weather did little to dullen the collective spirit of university workers, students and supporters at QMUL. Alongside several pickets stretched across three gates, the infamous QMUL ‘strike playlist’ blaring out from the East Gate to the Queens Gate, workers had also curated and co-produced, with students, an amazing program of teach outs. Today honored and celebrated the work of the recently passed colleague and comrade Dr Daniel Kato, with a reading group on his book (Liberalizing Lynching: Building a New Racialized State) facilitated by workers from the School of Politics and International Relations. Under the headline ‘opening the doors of opportunity’, QMUL management perfectly co-opt narratives of inclusivity and diversity, whilst failing to address structural, institutional racism and sexism - visible in the university’s gender and race pay gaps. Many schools were joined by new colleagues at the pickets - and strikers hope that momentum will continue to build and maintain strong strike representation. With 13 days of strike ahead, QMUL strikers are set for a social tomorrow - transforming collegiality into solidarity.

SOAS striking workers

This is what solidarity looks like: SOAS United

Pelting rain, gusty storms, the freezing cold and a hostile management threatening to put up barriers could not dampen the high spirits at SOAS on the first two days of strike action. With UNISON members striking alongside colleagues from UCU, the infamous SOAS steps witnessed a massive show of solidarity. The first two strike days were full of highlights: visits by UCU president Jo Grady and the leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn, FFFP [the local campaign led by precarious academic staff] members dancing to the tunes of the “noisy fractionals sound system” playlist, the stellar line-up of teach outs, Justice for Workers [local campaign led by cleaners, security, and support staff] organisers joining the picket line after their shifts, the students’ cover song of TLC’s “No Scabs”. It also made us all looking forward for 12 more days of collective striking, learning, and organising.

Birkbeck workers

While not yet on strike (their strike days start on Monday), workers at Birkbeck in London have put together this excellent info sheet in preparation for next week.

It gives details of their teach outs and picket rotas for local activists, explains the reasons for the strikes, and provides staff and student activists with FAQs to use in covnersations on the pickets and online.

The info sheet is a brilliant resource than can be used/replicated across the board.

To share widely!

University of California, Santa Cruz workers

Graduate student workers at the University of California, Santa Cruz have been on a two-week-long wildcat strike, demanding a cost of living adjustment (COLA) to combat housing and financial insecurities. The strike — which was organised outside of the student workers’ union local UAW 2865 due to its contract’s “no-strike” clause — began when 250 graduate students withheld Fall quarter grades and eventually escalated into a full work stoppage on 9 February. Refusing to negotiate, university administrators have threatened to fire the wildcat strikers and summarily deport international students who withheld grades. Peaceful picket lines have been violently attacked by campus police, leading to over two dozen strikers and supporters being hurt. In response to the threats and attacks against the wildcat strikers, UC graduate students across the state have organised their own demonstrations, occupied administration buildings, and demanded that a COLA be applied at every campus in the UC system. General assemblies will be held throughout the UC system next week under the banner “Spread the Strike” and call on students throughout the state to withhold their labour until university administrators concede to their demands and drop all retaliation threats against the Santa Cruz wildcat strikers.


author

The University and College Worker

Bulletin written for, and by, University and College Workers