Hundreds rallied and marched through Manchester on the last day of the UCU strike in a big show of solidarity, reports Chris Neville
Hundreds of trade unionists, university workers, students and activists came together today in Manchester on the last of three strike days for a march and solidarity for the City’s striking UCU members.
The universities with strike action in the area were Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), University of Manchester (UoM), University of Salford (UoS) and the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM). The initial rally gathered on Oxford road before marching to All Saints Park.
Present were banners from various trade unions and organisations including Manchester Trades Council, Bury Trades Council, Manchester People’s Assembly. Students had crafted banners with slogans showing solidarity with the staff, recognising that the conditions university staff face ties into their own education.
At the rally, MMU UCU’s Lucy Burke led the speeches before handing over to one of her RNCM colleagues who serenaded the crowd with opera singing. Ben McGowan who has been involved in solidarity action occupying OuM buildings spoke clearly about the marketisation of education and the negative effects on both students and staff. Members of all the aforementioned university UCU branches spoke of how cuts and poor working conditions are affecting university workers.
Of particular note were comments around how much more support these strikes are getting from students than those of previous years. This is the result of amazing work done by both UCU members and socialist students to build solidarity and ensure that students understand why this fight is their fight.
This march was one of many around the country today as the three days of strikes came to an end. By organising and mobilising to the extent they have, UCU is showing that they can win and put an end to the harsh conditions and casualisation that is rife in the university sector.
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