The UCU strike is underway and at QMUCU we got off to a flying start! Members left their places of work in droves in order to join UCU picket lines at both the Mile End and Whitechapel campuses. If you want to join us today, find the lowdown on picketing here.

Lecturers, professional services staff, PhD students, a colleague from Hackney FE college and a dog were all to be found on yesterday’s picket lines.

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The energy was high as picketers shared home baked snacks, stories from last action and reminiscing about some old picket line favourites:

The QMUCU strike choir, after a productive teach out, performed for the first time on the 2019 QMUCU picket lines. Some old favourites—do you believe in life after work?!—were interlaced with some new numbers. We were even blessed with the presence of one Dr Spears. Watch out for their renditions on the QMUCU pickets over the eight days!

We also had a very inspiring teach out led by activists and academics fighting the racist and injustice consequences of planning.

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Vicky Alvarez from Latin Village UK, the campaign to save the Seven Sisters market, was joined by Ivana Bevilacqua, Maya Goodfellow, Sharrin Plonski and Hanna Swaid to share their thoughts and experiences of the coloniality of planning in both the UK and Palestine.

Together, both teach outs were an excellent way to kick off our 8 day programme.

The message from the picket line was clear. Staff had had enough of:

  • Discrimination
  • Job insecurity
  • Crushing workloads
  • Real term pay cuts
  • Pensions Cuts

It is no wonder why with the conditions faced by staff:

  • Women are paid 14% less than their male colleagues; BAME members of staff 22% less than their white counterparts.
  • 63% QMUL staff are on short term or hourly-paid contracts
  • Pay is down 21% in real terms since 2009
  • The proposed changes to our pensions will cost us an average of £240,000 in retirement

If you want to familiarise yourself with the headline figures, they can be found here.

Thanks for everyone’s hard work yesterday, and let’s keep the energy up today!

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