Solidarity and Wider Campaigns:

1. Solidarity with Palestine
Last week the Israeli court ordered the eviction of Palestinian families from the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah. This, together with Israel’s annual celebrations of its capture of East Jerusalem in 1967, resulted in large protests, including militants in Gaza firing rockets into Israel. Violence escalated quickly resulting in at least 53 Palestinians (including 14 children) and six Israelis being killed since Monday.

Israeli military organized raids on Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque, where Palestinians were praying in observance of the holy month of Ramadan. So far, Nicola Sturgeon is the only UK leader to condemn this action in a statement that reads: “Attacking a place of worship at any time is reprehensible, but attacking a mosque during Ramadan is utterly indefensible. It is also a violation of international law. Israel should heed calls to halt the violence immediately.”

UCU stands by Sturgeon’s words in solidarity with the people of Palestine.
The Cardiff Palestine Solidarity Campaign is organizing a protest on Saturday 15 May at 12pm by the Nye Bevan Statue, Queen St., Cardiff to demand an end to Israel’s grave violations of human rights and international law. Our branch’s Equality and Diversity officer, Abyd Quinn-Aziz, is among the speakers.

2. Swansea DVLA Workers Strike
DVLA workers from the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union held four days of strike earlier this month over health and safety relating to covid-19 with more strike actions planned for next week if their conditions were not met. PCS have just announced the agreement to suspend next week’s strike following progress made in talks with DVLA towards reaching an agreement. The branch thanked all the messages of solidarity and support from all areas of the country and the trade union movement.

Their inspiring online strike rally, held on the 7th May, is available here.

3. Construction Electricians Protest
Construction electricians in Unite appealed for support at their protest at the Bouygues Cardiff University construction site on Maindy Road, Cardiff, today between 7.00-8.00 am. Our branch President, Lucy Riglin, and our branch Treasurer, Phil Parkes, attended to represent the branch.

One of the companies working on the site is NG Baileys, which is trying to de-skill and drive down electricians’ wages around the country. This is part of the general campaign by employers to drive down wages through fire and rehire. In effect every new contract by NG Baileys is a fire and rehire. The management at the Bouygues site have been taking an increasingly aggressive attitude towards the sparks, so they require our solidarity to show they are not alone and are supported by all Cardiff workers.

It is up to the whole trade union movement in Cardiff to respond with support. If you can, please join future protests of fellow workers in Cardiff. We will try to keep you informed of these events, but you can also join the Wales Trade Unions Council mailing list or follow them on social media in order to be up to date with their campaigns and events. You can subscribe to their mailing list, at the bottom of their webpage here.

4. A People’s Vaccine
The US has just announced that it will support a patent waiver on Covid-19 vaccine technology. China and Russia also support the patent waiver but the European Union and the UK do not. Please find here a petition calling on the UK government to support the end of the vaccine apartheid emerging across the world.

5. Union’s Global Boycott of the University of Leicester
The University of Leicester’s management has threatened over 100 staff with compulsory redundancy. UCU have implemented the ultimate sanction of ‘greylisting’ to urge the university to stop the proposed cuts and to hold urgent talks with staff unions to resolve the current dispute.

UCU calls on all members, supporters, other unions and the international academic community to support staff at Leicester including by:

  • not applying for any advertised jobs at Leicester
  • not speaking at or organising academic or other conferences at Leicester
  • not accepting invitations to give lectures at Leicester
  • not accepting positions as visiting professors or researchers at Leicester
  • not writing for any academic journal which is edited at or produced by Leicester
  • not accepting new contracts as external examiners for taught courses at Leicester
  • refusing to collaborate on new research projects with Leicester.

Academic boycott is a weapon of last resort and has only been used a handful of times in UCU’s history but that is a measure of the level of intransigence of the employer that has left no choice.

Please support the boycott in any way you can, and in particular if you have any personal or professional link with the university. Please also encourage colleagues, professional networks and students to do the same. Tweet your support tagging @UniofLeicester @NCanagarajah and @LeicesterUCU and using #BoycottLeicester. We are fighting to prevent one of the most egregious attacks on higher education workers and it is crucial that we stand in solidarity with our colleagues.