At ACAS talks yesterday, February 24th, university management agreed to reopen discussion on terms set by the University and College Union (UCU). In response, UCU have agreed to postpone strike action. Lectures will be held today and all of next week, but student action must continue.
This is a victory for lecturers and tutors at the university. Make no mistake however, it is only a small victory. The economies exercise is still on the agenda; at best, university cuts have only been forestalled until the impending Tory government forces them through.
The acquiescence by university management has valorised strike action. Even at the university, this remains a powerful tactic. But UCU could not have done this alone. The call to strike could only have been passed with the support of students, and it is only through our activity that the VC/management have reopened discussion.
But beware: Easter is looming, then exams, then corrections and feedback. It will be hard to wage a successful strike in the post-Easter period. We are at a dangerous point, where the power we hold in this struggle could be taken away. So student action must continue. The demonstration at noon on Thursday 25th will continue. Students will be joined at the Parkinson steps by members of the UCU, who will then hopefully line up with us for Capture The Flag.
As we discussed in the post ‘What do we mean by ‘Strike, Occupy, Transform’?’ and in the last issue of ‘The Sausage Factory’, the strike is a defensive tool. Now more than ever, we need to go on the offensive and move beyond the struggles of the university staff and fight for the future. We must really open the university and we ask more lecturers to join us in this struggle.