Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/678/12372
Next time - strike together...
Susan Wills, branch secretary University and College Union (UCU), Waltham Forest College
Thursday 30 June was a great day of action for UCU - on our second strike day this academic year.
At my own college, a lively picket line was maintained throughout the morning, with more UCU members taking part than ever before. We were joined by anti-cuts campaigners, local pensioners, union members and reps from other organisations - and received strong support from motorists and passers-by.
This refuted the media claim that 'the public' were not on-side in this battle.
A number of us joined the march in central London, along with our children, friends and colleagues, our union banners and home-made placards. Later on, a lucky few made it into the fantastic rally at Westminster Central Hall where the general secretaries of each of the four striking union leaders gave rousing speeches demanding fair pensions for all, and broadening out the issue into a wider defence of education and public services.
From the NUT and ATL, young newly-qualified teachers explained what the pension proposals would mean to them, whilst struggling to pay back student loans, and trying to afford moving into a place of their own.
From UCU, two London reps gave two quite different perspectives on the post-16 sector. Mark Campbell's storming speech expressed anger at the government attacks on higher education - with 70% of courses under threat at London Metropolitan University - while Annie Holder from Lewisham Adult Education service described the impact of the pension proposals on women and older workers.
The atmosphere of the day was tremendous as speaker after speaker re-iterated the view that we all share - we will not accept this.
Earlier in the day, Unison support staff at my college told us that they should have been out on strike alongside us - next time they must be there, along with all the other public sector unions.
In The Socialist 6 July 2011:
30th June strike and after
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