With solidarity bacon and veggie butties from Unison, chocolate cakes from security guards, a coffee cart from the Student full-timers, passing cars honking their horns in support, and both the Royal Mail and Paper deliveries turning back in solidarity, picketing UCU members certainly felt appreciated this morning.
We had prepared for the worst, with a new Gazebo, multiple umbrellas, wooly hats and thermals, but so far even the elements have favoured us more than expected.
A customised leaflet for GCU students was handed out by pickets at all six entrances and was well received, with some students taking in leaflets to give out in the refectory, and members of EIS, Unison and Unite also taking in some of our materials.
The chair of the GCU court was also given copies of the dispute material and listened to a brief further explanation of the dispute when he stopped to chat to branch Vice President Douglas Chalmers, on the picket line. Douglas, who is Academic Staff Rep on Court had already updated Court at last weeks meeting, where he asked that Court pressurise GCU management to urge the Universities Employers Association UCEA, to return to the negotiation table and talk to UCU. At the meeting, Douglas had also asked that any deductions taken from staff be paid into the local student hardship fund.
As always, Catriona Mowat, had provided an updated strike playlist which accompanied our leafleting throughout the morning.
At a brief gate side meeting at the end of this morning’s picket, Douglas Chalmers talked of the 4 elements of the strike and asked the University to show some movement on the issues concerning us – pay, casualisation, the pay gap for Women and Black and Minority Ethnic staff, and finally workload.