Day three of the join USS and Pay and Equality strike action brought our UCU General Secretary and all-round badass Jo Grady to QMUCU picket lines, as well as yet more wet weather.
However, as we showed last time when we braved The Beast From The East, it will take more than a measly weather system to dampen our spirits! QMUCU’s Strike Choir’s rousing rendition of Go West (for pensions and pay justice), serenading Jo Grady’s visit was proof of that if we ever needed it!
Jo Grady’s speech was preceded by QMUL PhD candidate (and soon to be Dr!) Emily Pfefer talking about casualisation and the psychological effects it has on GTAs, teaching and research fellows and PhD students without proper employment relations. Emily’s elegant intervention was a timely reminder of the importance of the equality elements of the Four Fights and why fighting casualisation, the gender and BAME pay gaps and workload issues together with pay is so important.
Jo Grady’s meeting was also accompanied by some good news from HQ and the ongoing discussions between UCU pay and equalities negotiators and the Universities & Colleges Employers Association (UCEA):
In the meeting, we made it clear that UCU members expect progress on all aspects of the claim, and pressed the employers’ representatives to improve their offer on each of the four interconnected areas of pay and working conditions. UCEA have agreed to return to their member institutions, and have committed to a written response early next week.
The pressure is paying off—let’s keep up the energy and effort! However, pay is still not on the table so let’s do our all to up the ante.
In other picket line news, the QMSU representing QMUL students came down and joined us in a great show of solidarity. Their support is proving an integral part of our strike action.
There was also a great teach out, where a dozen or so colleagues put their heads together to think about what our manifesto for a just, fair university—the university we are all fighting for—will look like. Adverse weather conditions prevented the feedback for the rest of the picket, so watch out for their update during tomorrow.
There was also the first strike cinema session in the Chapel—watch out for more session during the week. The rest of our teach out schedule can be seen here.
Finally, a reminder that pickets start at 8am tomorrow. It is essential that we keep up the great work from the start of the week. Post on the Mile End Whatsapp group if you arrive and are looking for people. The link to join the group if you’re not already a member can be found here: https://chat.whatsapp.com/DmAXBvQ7gslHtx9uto1jzO
All further information on our pickets can be found here. See you all bright and early tomorrow morning.