We’re into Week Two – change of persona as reading week and the turn to school after half term mean different people may be enabled to join the picket lines. We’re also joined nationally by King’s College, Queen Mary, Stirling and Edinburgh, whose members are now on strike. Meanwhile, there was a change of climate, with cold days getting colder, but we appreciate you being out in such force.
Picket and Rally at Main Gate
In addition to the Business School, we had picket lines at Heath Park (Rhydelig Ave and Allensbank Rd entrances), Glamorgan Building, Bute Building, Psychology, AHSS Library, Maths, Psychology. As many as on Friday, if not more came to the daily 11am rally at Main Gate. One of the speakers drew attention to the fact that it is now clear Cardiff University has been less than transparent about how it came to a decision to inform UUK that it supported the UUK proposal to change the pension scheme from DB to DC. There remain questions as to whether the process used was sufficient.
Students and Staff United
This afternoon, we had an open meeting, “Staff and Students Unite for Education”. Over 80 staff and students gathered at Cathays Community Centre, and the focus was pretty high-level. Paul Brennan and Huw Williams encouraged us to think about what we could do to make a fairer university and what we think the university should be for. Paul says he has the HOTSS for a fairer university – one that values Honesty, Openness, Transparency, and Students & Staff. I think we can all agree that such a focus would not lead us to the position we’re in now. Huw mentioned talking about the purpose of universities in another group, and someone told him the universities are as important to Wales as coal and steel. This led someone to pipe in, “That makes this a miner’s strike of knowledge.” Good line – one to share!
In the practical discussion that followed, an ambitious – sometimes radical – set of interventions was discussed. With so many students present, speaking about why they support us and what they want to hear from us as academic staff, we moved the discussion from the narrow issue of pensions to the wider issue of the people who make the university what it is. We should all feel enabled to talk with out students about why we’re out and what we’re fighting for.
Feet Up Tonight
If you’re taking a load off after picketing and organising today, be sure to switch on the telly. Dispatches will share their investigation on the expenses scandal of university vice-chancellors. Tune in on Channel 4 at 8 and share your thoughts online with the hashtag #dispatches.
Feet Out Tomorrow
Cold one tomorrow, maybe even snow, but please come out – make sure you bring a thick coat, wollen jumper and double layer your socks. The UCU starts talks with UniversitiesUK, and though this is a success in itself, it won’t help if UUK doesn’t budge on the kind of pension we want. A strong showing tomorrow from all of us will remind our bosses that we mean what we say, and it will remind our negotiators that we’re behind them and want them to represent us to preserve a fair, secure pension. So wrap up: snow didn’t deter them over in London. No reason it should deter us here in Wales.
Planned activities for next two days
- Tuesday 27th Feb, Teach Out (1pm, Cathays Community Centre Bingo Hall).
University Matters Teach-out Event
– “Analyzing the language of strikes”,
workshop led by Dr. Aimee Grant,
– “Strikes and other direct action in Children’s literature”,
two open lectures by Dr. Netta Chachamu,
– “The digital university: what does it mean for worker resistant?”
by Dr. Lina Dencik & Dr. EmilianoTreré,
followed by an open debate – everyone welcome.
Bingo Room, Cathays Community Centre, CF24 4HX
- Wednesday 28th February, Rally at the Main Building, 11am
Rally and March
with various invited speakers and performers.
Meeting in front of the main university building.
Cardiff UCU Strike Communications Team