Yesterday saw UCU striking in universities up and down the country. In total 60 institutions, including the entire Russell group, were on strike to defend pensions.
Students at Goldsmiths and UCL went into occupation in solidarity with the strike on Monday. They were joined on Tuesday by UEA, Kent, Edinburgh and UEL. In Glasgow, the Hetherington occupation (the longest anti-cuts occupation, running since 1st of Febuary) fell victim to a heavy-handed eviction by police, including 80 officers, dogs units and a helicopter. Several students were injured with one having to go to hospital for concussion. In response to this violent treatment, the occupiers joined a crowd of hundreds and marched to the main university building where they occupied the Senate. At the time of writing SOAS has also just gone into occupation.
Pickets were set up at the affected universities with a huge student turnout to support their striking lecturers. Lecturers and students picketed the entrances to the University of Leeds and Leeds Met from 7am, with the largest pickets Leeds UCU has ever seen. Students at the Met signed hundreds of pledges outlining their support for the strike. During the day teach-outs happened at UCL and SOAS, as well as a 300 strong rally in Manchester.
Tomorrow sees the second national strike day across 500 colleges and universities. Pickets will begin at 7am and go on till 11am, all students are welcome to come and join their lecturers. In Leeds there will be a march from Parkinson steps at 12, meeting with Met students and UCU members then on to a rally in the city square at 1. University management, including Michael Arthur, will be meeting from 11.30 in Electrical Engineering Agilent LT (1.52) if any disgruntled students wish to make their voices heard. If you want to help the strike the most effective thing students can do en masse is to boycott lectures. Supporting your lecturers is as easy as staying in bed!