Goldsmiths UCU members started three weeks of strike action with a huge rally showing an overwhelming amount of support, reports Shabbir Lakha
UCU members at Goldsmiths, University of London began three weeks of strike action today against management's proposed cuts of 52 jobs as part of its restructuring plans. A lively picket line on a cold morning turned into a mass rally by afternoon with a huge crowd of students filling up the courtyard in front of the univeristy to stand in solidarity with their lecturers.
One of the strikers and Goldsmiths UCU exec member Marian Carty told us, "we've been on strike over the last three or four years several times, but never have I ever seen the expression of solidarity so unanimously."
The rally was addressed by striking Goldsmiths staff as well as the head of the student's union, UCU members from other universities and representatives from Islington Trades Council, RMT, Aslef, the People's Assembly, DPAC and others. The speakers located the cuts as part of an attack on higher education, at Goldsmiths and nationally, as well as being part of a wider attack on workers' rights, pay and conditions across industries, and pointed to the need for unity and solidarity to resist.
As 58 universities prepare to strike for three days next week over pay and pensions, Goldsmiths has set the tone for a concerted and united fight back nationally in higher education. In contrast to the shameful statements from a small number of student groups like Leeds Student Union who have refused to back the UCU strikes, Goldsmiths students have shown with clarity what solidarity looks like and why it's important for students to stand with their striking lecturers. As Sara Bafo, the President of Goldsmiths Students' Union said, "their working conditions are our learning conditions".
The strikers will be picketing outside the university every morning over the next three weeks, so please get down to support them. Send messages of solidarity to @GoldsmithsUCU and please donate to the strike fund.
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Shabbir Lakha is a Stop the War officer, a People's Assembly activist and a member of Counterfire.
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