Reporting from the Coal Face: #USSstrike Continues

As the snow melted, Edinburgh UCU members returned to the picket line this week for the second week of strike action. I cancelled three hours of classes and picketed with my colleagues in History, Classics, and Archaeology on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. It has been amazing to see the solidarity of my colleagues on the picket line, and the support from the student community and wider community of the city of Edinburgh.

 Picketing outside HCA on Teviot Place, Monday 5 March

Picketing outside HCA on Teviot Place, Monday 5 March

 Picketing outside HCA on Teviot Place, Monday 5 March

Picketing outside HCA on Teviot Place, Monday 5 March

On Thursday 8 March there was the All-Scotland UCU Rally outside Scottish Parliament. We were joined by UCU members from universities across Scotland, including Glasgow, Dundee, Strathclyde, St Andrews, and Heriot-Watt. The best speech by far was definitely the one given by the new Rector of the University of Edinburgh, Ann Henderson.

 With Labour MSP Alex Rowley at the All-Scotland UCU Rally outside Scottish Parliament, Thursday 8 March

With Labour MSP Alex Rowley at the All-Scotland UCU Rally outside Scottish Parliament, Thursday 8 March

 All-Scotland UCU Rally outside Scottish Parliament, Thursday 8 March

All-Scotland UCU Rally outside Scottish Parliament, Thursday 8 March

 An excellent strike dog at the All-Scotland UCU Rally outside Scottish Parliament, Thursday 8 March

An excellent strike dog at the All-Scotland UCU Rally outside Scottish Parliament, Thursday 8 March

Talks between UCU and UUK have continued this week - farcically organised on Twitter late at night on Monday - but a resolution is yet to be found. The strike action will currently continue as planned into next week, and there is worry that further action will be required during exams season.

One good thing coming out of the current spotlight on university and college teaching is the publicity of the issue of casualisation in the sector. Hope is that the issue of casualisation and early career precarity can be tackled anew after the pensions dispute is won.