Lower presence on the 2nd day of UCU strikes
On the second day of the University and College Union’s (UCU) 18-day strike action, numbers were low on the picket lines.
Being the UCU’s biggest strike action yet, there was a lot of fervour that this would be the most intense striking period. The support of UCU had been substantially high on the first day of action, February 1, with the attendance being in the thousands.
However, the picket lines on February 9 were not met with as much support. Many buildings across campus had only a handful of staff on the picket lines.
James, a sociology lecturer present at the picket lines, did not see this as a negative.
He said, “Yeah, the attendance today is quite minimum, but that does not indicate anything. We aren’t marching today hence many may have just stayed home, but the solidarity within the strike still remains.”
Other staff members striking still remain positive about their demands, saying that this is the most optimistic they have felt about the University listening to their demands.
They also believe that the University have the money to make their demands a reality. Furthermore, they say that the support they are receiving from students and unions across the country is unprecedented.
Overnight on February 9, students of UoM Rent Strike and Manchester Leftist Action occupied 3 University buildings. This includes the John Owens building, which houses the office of Vice-Chancellor Nancy Rothwell.
One of the occupiers’ demands states that “UoM must give in to the UCU demands.” Kerry, a teaching assistant, was glad to see that students who have occupied buildings are fighting for them also.
“I am glad students and staff are both united on these topics,” she says. “This is the push we need to ensure that universities make a change for the better.”