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Scenes from yesterday’s strike

March 23, 2011

Yesterday’s strike saw record numbers of staff on picket lines, and the largest ever student turnout in support of picket lines. Here are some photos from the event, and a video of a speech given by a student in support of our action:

University of Leeds Strike

Students support UCU Leeds

Click to see video

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More images have been uploaded on Flikr here.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. Mark permalink
    March 23, 2011 2:50 PM

    Is it worth pointing out to the many confused people that this is *not* a “lecturers’ strike”, or have the many non-lecturers just been thrown out of UCU?

  2. March 23, 2011 3:07 PM

    Quite right Mark. Remember, half of the UCU officers are academic-related

  3. Mark permalink
    March 23, 2011 3:36 PM

    Thanks. Can we lose the Leeds University(sic) Against Cuts poster pictures, then?

  4. March 23, 2011 3:41 PM

    Well, we wouldn’t want to cut out supportive statements from the students because they don’t represent the full UCU constituency. The fact that they put posters around campus was a very positive action in support of the strikes.

  5. Mark permalink
    March 23, 2011 3:49 PM

    Fine – people will simply assume this is just about lecturers.

  6. March 23, 2011 3:54 PM

    No. We tell people otherwise, we publicise otherwise – in our interviews with BBC Radio Leeds, Real Radio and Radio Aire we made it clear what the constituency is, and in discussing with students we make clear what the constituency is. But students enter campus to attend classes for the most part, so perhaps LUAC felt that this was the element that needed emphasising on the picket line.

  7. Mark permalink
    March 23, 2011 5:36 PM

    Clearly we don’t make it clear enough – wouldn’t you agree? My objection, though, is not merely that it fails to recognise that “lecturer” doesn’t even cover the breadth of academic and AR activity covered by UCU, the fact that it says “lecturers’ strike” definitively excludes the academic and AR staff who are not lecturers. By then giving those posters such prominence – indeed showing the same one multiple times (albeit in different locations) – you could well leave people with the impression that it’s correct.

  8. March 23, 2011 5:58 PM

    Your point is well made, and perhaps we can remove some images. Certainly, we never as a union promote vocabulary about what we do to permit the notion that we are just about defending, supporting and representing academics. It is partly inevitable, though, that students consider the most visible elements of the strike, and the people they have most contact with when thinking about the strike, and how they can support it. Their support is to be valued. It makes a huge difference.

  9. An academic permalink
    March 23, 2011 6:32 PM

    It seems odd to take UCU to task over the students’ choice of expression.

    UCU is in favour of free speech, which is a democratic right.

    A free education is also a democratic right in any progressive society. These students should be applauded.

    Arguing the toss over nomenclature when so much else is at stake speaks volumes of the breadth of vision that is being brought to the debate.

  10. An RA permalink
    March 24, 2011 7:56 AM

    I’m an RA (at another institution) who has been on continual rolling redundancy notice for the last 6 months. I have none of the protection that my lecturer colleagues have – believe me terminology is more then mere semantics. Obviously I have no wish to see anyone made redundant but I do think you should acknowledge that there are real differences between terms and conditions for some of us.

    I winced this morning as the BBC have an article about the “lecturers strike”. This means the public will get the impression it’s only one group of people, ignoring the RAs, AR staff etc. I am starting not to feel represented by my union at a time when I need them the most.

  11. Mark permalink
    March 24, 2011 8:53 AM

    It’s odd that with so much at stake, you would wish the world to think that it is a more limited issue than it really is.

    I am not taking the UCU to task for the students’ choice of expression.

    I am not attacking free speech or interfering with a democratic right.

    I am seeking to ensure that the public are not left with the impression that this is a more narrow issue than it really is, and part of that is to ensure that (by association) this blog doesn’t reinforce what is (or do you disagree) an incorrect assertion.

    They say pictures speak louder than words, so including multiple pictures on a UCU blog which assert that it is a “lecturers’ strike” is shouting very loudly.

    Perhaps as “an academic”, you don’t care. I think that’s odd as it weakens the case. In addition, I suspect that the research staff, AR staff and many other staff who are not “lecturers” probably don’t wish to be disenfranchised like this, but YMMV.

    To assert this is about nomenclature (look it up) completely misses the point I am making.

    Anyway, there are more pressing issues at stake, so I’ll give up. There’s nothing like being shouted down by someone complaining about infringement of free speech…

  12. March 24, 2011 9:29 AM

    A response from the picket line:

    This is an important comment, and we support you. We fight redundancy attacks on all members.

    The 1/260th rule, though, is calculated on the basis of dividing the annual salary by 52 weeks and dividing by 5 working days i.e. 1/260th. That is to say, if you are someone who works only five days a week, then it is a fair calculation. If you recognise that many UCU workers work regularly on weekends, and that many of us have never, ever, been able to take our full holiday entitlement, then it is utterly dishonest to hold to 1/260th as reasonable or fair. It is notable that someone who would argue that 1/365th was ‘generous’ somehow could not accept the opposite, ‘mean’, for the 1/260th.

  13. Red Mark permalink
    March 25, 2011 10:50 AM

    Ooh. There’s too Marks now, how confusing. I shall henceforth be called Red Mark to avoid any confusion. I’ve only posted two other messages.

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