Thursday, 15 October 2009

Strong support for today's joint union strike

Staff and students rallied today outside Tower building, after a very successful day of strike action this morning.

All buildings had active picket lines and were respected by the vast majority of members. Ladbroke House was closed down completely after students walked out en mass and joined staff on the picket lines. A spokeswoman for the Ladbroke students reflected the anger felt by many students at the attack on their education that they are already beginning to experience as the inevitable result of staff cuts already enacted and is only likely to get much worse with the further cut backs proposed by management.

Jewry St was also closed following a fire alarm* (see correction at end). The few not on strike were evacuated by agency staff who are inadequately trained in health and safety, as all appropriately trained unionised full time staff were on strike.

Students who were turned away due to cancelled lessons were very receptive and appreciative of our argument that we are striking not to disrupt their lessons but to save our university from terminal decline. Thousands of leaflets were gratefully received by students and many of those students then joined our picket lines.

Students were angry to hear how much the Vice Chancellor earns – nearly £300,000 – and when they heard that Brian Roper was still being paid the same - despite not being on university premises since February, they were outraged. As one of the student speakers at our rally said - "We could keep the nursery open by simply getting rid of both of them".

We realise some of our members had their doubts about taking action today but after this morning most of those who had expressed uncertainties decided that they’d much rather respect the picket line than break the strike.

Thanks for all those members who came in to help out on the pickets – and to our students too. Hundreds signed our petition and many gladly took more leaflets to hand out to their classmates.

We’ll be rallying again at the Tower building at lunchtime tomorrow, 1-2pm.

We invite all staff to join us tomorrow, it’s not too late to change your mind and do the right thing. Today was a major success - let's make tomorrow even better.

Pickets start at 8 at every building. If you stayed at home today, come into join us. Pass this on to non-members and encourage them to join UNISON or UCU – it’s not too late. Today, both Unison and UCU recruited a number of new members on the picket lines!

United we stand, divided we fall. Today we stand shoulder to shoulder - staff and students united, and we stand up tall.
* We've been asked to correct what someone saw as inaccurate reporting:

"The building was NOT "closed following a fire alarm". The building was evacuated and the fire brigade called as per standard procedures. Occupants were allowed back in once the brigade gave the all clear and the fire alarm reset. If anything the fire alarm demonstrated that the agency staff on site were adequately trained and acted properly with respect to occupants safety. There was a delay in re-opening the building as the agency staff were not familiar with the re-setting procedure but this is not a safety issue."

It should be noted that the strikers were not responsible for this fire alarm being set off, as of course we were all outside the buildings...


  1. keep up the good work- any news on how solid it's been at Calcutta House?

    from a UCU member who was having doubts about the strike's success but is v encouraged by this news and will join you all on the picket lines tomorrow

  2. Are you proud of yourselves for setting off the fire alarms at both Ladbroke House and Jewry St? It meant that fire engines that could have been attending a real fire were sent on a wild goose chase. It also costs the tax payer £1000 to call out a fire engine. You should be ashamed.

  3. Any shame should be felt by the fat cats living of student fees. I doubt it is as they clearly have no shame.

  4. While I definitely support this protest, I feel that insulting members of staff who do not have the financial security to risk losing some of their pay due to being on strike is not helpful in any respect.

  5. I'm rather disappointed by the logic of the comment implying that those going on strike have the 'financial security to risk losing some of their pay'. I can ill afford to lose 2 day's worth of pay but losing my job is going to be a far greater threat to my long term financial security than having my pay temporarily docked for going on strike. Don't forget that is precisely the reason why we are on strike- TO SAVE ALL OUR JOBS!

  6. Is anonymous suggesting it was staff outside on the picket lines who set off the fire alarms? Clever and accomplished as we undoubtedly are, I don't really think so. More likely staff who had crossed the picket lines and were so ashamed of themselves that they felt they had to try to make amends by doing something subversive. (It was a fairly shambolic fire drill at LH by the way)

  7. Keep the strike up. The people who created this mess should pay for it. Not the staff and not the students!