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February, 2014:

Going on strike

I don’t like going on strike.  I don’t like confrontation, I feel bad at breaking my contract, and I don’t like losing money.

 
But when the Vice-Chancellor is getting 8.6% in his final year at the university before retirement on a final salary pension, but cleaners & maintenance staff are expected to be grateful to have a job, and to take 1% of their already low pay; when lecturers who are dedicated and work incredibly hard are a lower priority than smart new buildings;  and when the employers refuse to talk about workload, casual contracts, gender inequality in pay & disability leave, I want to make a stand.

 
And you meet the nicest people on the picket lines.  And get to eat homemade mushroom pasties courtesy of Ian in IT, talk about films with Jimmy from Unite, & admire Sarah’s gorgeous purple earrings.

 
As @johnnyunger has written in an eloquent blog:  “I’m not striking because I want more money, I’m striking because I am disgusted with the inequality in the sector, with VCs often earning more than 20 times what the lowest paid earn, and because I am deeply concerned by the ongoing marketisation and commercialisation of education”

So that’s why I’m on strike.  How about you?

Rachel UCU@UEA VP