This post is an account from one of the striking lecturers at Lambeth College, if you are interested in having a member of our strike coming to talk to you, let us know. The solidarity we have had from around the country has been amazing
The day began well I managed to shave off 11 minutes on my picket line arrival time and I handed out all of the flyers I had as well as student letters in Spanish and Portuguese. I recruited two of my students and they walked with me and a colleague to the Clapham Centre where we were given our morning brief. I had a great jamming session on the picket line and then left to go to Hackney Community College with a couple of colleagues; this is what really made my day.
When we got to the college, we were met by a member of staff who had a bucket with loads of UCU stickers on. This calmed my nerves a bit, I have to say, as I was had been worried about going round staff rooms and asking for money.
We walked down corridors and up and down stairs and went to numerous teachers’ rooms. We found out that we needed a couple of pre-prepared lines as quick answers to the teachers’ questions.
The top 4 questions asked were:
- What is going on? Why are you striking?
- How long have you been on strike?
- How is the strike going? How is morale?
- How many people are on strike?
As I teach basic numeracy, I jumped at the opportunity to answer questions 2 and 4 :), but my colleagues were brilliant at listing the main points such as 2 weeks cut in holiday, reduction in sick pay and the fact that an injunction was taken out on our first indefinite strike action.
The response and reaction absolutely blew me away! It was simply amazing! We received a total donation of £235, hugs, chocolate and words of support, admiration, and praise.
I remember a moment when we were about to leave a room, having interrupted a meeting, and a man had said that what we were doing was an inspiration. I don’t know what came over me at that moment of time, but I truly felt compelled to shout at him with a clenched fist: “We’re gonna do this for you!” I have really grasped that we are making a stand, not just for our colleges, but for every other college and we are not alone.
This experience was amazing in that it has now spurred me on to keep pushing on and persevering and keep my and others’ spirits up. Also, it was great to not just visit another college but to also spend an afternoon with colleagues as I felt a great sense of camaraderie.
I hope this now inspires other strikers to visit colleges and keep pushing on!
When they say cut back, we say fight back!