Socialist Worker

Liverpool university striker argues why it’s right to picket

by a Liverpool UCU striker
Issue No. 2757

Strikers held a rally last week

Strikers held a rally last week (Pic: UCU University of LIverpool)


UCU union members at the University of Liverpool continued to strike this week to stop the compulsory redundancies of staff in our Health and Life Sciences faculty.

The strike was set to run until Friday this week and then start again next week from 7 to 11 June.

This is the first time we have struck during the pandemic, and the strike has raised questions about how to take industrial action most effectively.

Given that a lot of ­university work is still being carried out from home, one question is, should we picket or not?

Having spent a couple of days on campus this week, I would say the answer is ­definitely yes.

There are four main targets when it comes to ­picketing—the first being that students that are coming onto campus for exams.

Picketing gives us an opportunity to tell them why we are striking, and counter the one-sided narrative they get from university bosses.

When they know why we are taking action, their instinct is usually to support us.

Unions

It is also important for us to picket due to the members of other unions, especially Unite and Unison, who are not on strike.

If they have the opportunity to talk to us about our action, they can feel part of it, and ensure our work isn’t carried out by others while we strike.

Of course another ­important target is members of staff who should be in UCU and who should be on strike but feel under pressure to come into work.

University of Liverpool strikers battle for jobs and education
University of Liverpool strikers battle for jobs and education
  Read More

Many of these people need to see an active picket line in order to hear our argument.

In the past we have recruited lots of people to the strike by having picket lines. If we don’t picket, we will not get this chance.

And lastly we must show university bosses that we are actively on strike, and the campus belongs to us, not them.

Our experiences of talking to students and staff show that pickets raise the ­confidence of strikers, and build support.

We’ll be there every day to maximise our impact and show that we are serious about winning this dispute.

Send messages of support to [email protected] and donate to the strike fund bit.ly/UCUliverstrikefund

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