It was another busy day today. Pickets were established from 8am onwards at Heath Park, Newport Road, Hadyn Ellis, Colum Road, AHSS, Modern Languages, Law, Careers, Psychology, Biosciences, Main Gate, Bute, Glamorgan. The CARBS was the biggest yet (see photo below).
11 o’clock rally
As usual, staff from the picket lines throughout the University gathered at the Main Building for a rally at 11 o’clock. Sara Whittam, a member of PSS staff from MEDIC, addressed the rally in Welsh (and translated it into English for non-Welsh speakers), speaking about the solidarity she had found on the picket lines, from colleagues and students. The rally also heard from Mary Heimann, a Professor in SHARE, who noted that support from Cardiff University students continued to grow, and over 6,100 signatures were now recorded on the students’ petition to the Vice Chancellor. Paul Brennan, Vice Chair of Cardiff UCU, noted that the Vice Chancellor said that he was pleased with how Monday’s meeting with staff had progressed and that he valued hearing from members of staff. Paul also remarked on his feelings about going back to work Friday, unsure what he can accomplish in a day. But saying that he knows how much he could accomplish if he was back to work all of next week. Thanasi Hassoulas from MEDIC, compared his experiences of industrial action in Greece to the current UCU strikes.
Tomorrow’s (Thursday 8th March) march and rally
Tomorrow’s rally is due to be the biggest rally yet, with more and more people coming out to support the action. Speakers at the rally include, among others, Anna McMorrin MP and Adam Price AM. Please do encourage colleagues who have not yet come out on strike to strike tomorrow and attend the rally. Also, bring placards with your messages on them, and whistles, drums and other things that can be used to make noise.
In more practical matters, Phil Parkes will be coordinating the march and rally tomorrow. The route is not yet confirmed, but we will meet at the front of Main Building for 11 o’clock. Phil is looking for at least one more first-aider for the march; please email Phil if you can help out on Phillip.Parkes@sky.com.
An important date for your diaries: Lobby at the Welsh Assembly on Tuesday 13th March – link to sign up below
Cardiff UCU has arranged a lobby of the National Assembly for Wales for Tuesday 13th March between 1pm and 2pm.
The Welsh Government is an important source of funding and support for Welsh universities and particularly Cardiff University. It is vital that Ministers, especially the First Minister Carwyn Jones and the Education Minister Kirsty Williams are made aware of the impact of the proposed changes to our pensions, the strength of feeling of staff and the damaging affects that these changes will have on our university. Our aim is to speak to AMs and urge the Welsh Government to make a public statement calling on Universities UK to accept a new evaluation of the pension scheme and to negotiate in good faith with a view to retaining a Defined Benefit scheme.
Two of our local Assembly Members, Julie Morgan for Cardiff North and Jenny Rathbone for Cardiff Central, have agreed to host our lobby.
We need as many people as possible to commit to coming to the lobby next Tuesday. There will be transport provided by Cardiff UCU.
If you would like to attend the lobby and help to persuade the Welsh Government to support our case, click here and fill in the form
Further political support
In addition to support from Jo Stevens MP (Cardiff Central), Julie Morgan AM (Cardiff North), Jenny Rathbone AM (Cardiff Central), Leanne Wood AM (Leader of Plaid Cymru), Kevin Brennan MP (Cardiff West), Anna McMorrin MP (Cardiff North), Stephen Doughty MP (Cardiff South and Penarth), Mick Antoniw AM (Pontypridd) and Neil McEvoy AM (South Wales Central region), we have also received a statement from David Melding AM (also South Wales Central region) expressing concern ‘that UUK’s pension cuts have been made without proper engagement with the university sector and the affected employees’.
Yesterday’s teach out: Mental Health Matters
The teach out, led by Prof Ben Hannigan, HCARE, involved a range of talks focused on mental health services and the University’s legal obligations in relation to mental health, mental health concerns by students and University staff. More details can be found here: Mental Health teach-out
Yesterday’s activity: Flash Mob
Led by Steven Stanley, a silent flash mob assembled on the stairs in front of the Cardiff University Union. See a short video here:
Do you have an hour spare to help out?
The various strike committees have been working hard over the past three weeks, and are looking for people who would like to volunteer to contribute an hour or two over the next week. If you are able to help out, please speak to your UCU department rep.
Next week’s teach outs
It looks as though we will be on strike again next week. We have talks all week on subjects such as Crime and Justice (12th March), Making sense of Neoliberalism (13th March), Community Values (14th March), Archaeology and History (14th March evening), Creativity and Resistance to Oppressive Institutions (15th March), Climate Change and Divestment (15th March) and Wales and Strikes (16th March). All events will take place between 1-4 PM except for the Archaeology and History event which will take place between 5-7 PM. The venue for all of the events is Cathays Methodist Church, Crwys Road, Cathays, Cardiff, CF24 2NE (at the corner of Crwys Road and Fanny Street). They are open to everyone – students, staff and the public, so please do publicise these.
See you tomorrow at the rally and march! Come down and bring a friend.
Cardiff UCU Strike Communications Team
Further images from today: