The Picket Line in an Industrial Estate: Strike Diary, Day 5

Today’s entry comes from Dr Joseph Baxter, Learning Applications Developer and UoN UCU APM Officer

KMC Picket Line 26th Feb

Today was a nice sunny walk to Kings Meadow Campus, walking past the queues already forming on the Clifton bridge.

Met Adam our lead picket in the cold shade of the industrial estate on Lenton lane (we have lovely view of a storage company facing away from the campus gates). We had 8 members on the picket line today which is reflective of the strong presence we have had each day of the strike.

On the picket line we have a mix of Information Services and Libraries staff as our core picketers. Our numbers are boosted by visiting academic staff who I assume come to enjoy the view I mentioned before. [Ed. Note: It’s the craic Joe, definitely the craic]

Talk as usual ends up with Campus Solutions and the incoming outsourcing of Information Services. As you can imagine no one on the picket line can understand how you can have such a bad experience with an outsourcing company and still think it is a good idea. Please come along to the picket line next week if you want to hear a full rant but I best leave it there for now.

We usually only see a handful of students at KMC unless an exam is on (yes, the “temporary” exam location of KMC is still in use) so we are mostly talking to our colleagues on the picket line. The staff outsourced previously (still based at KMC) who walk in are friendly and often offer to get us a nice warm cuppa.

At KMC foot traffic tends to stop around 10 o’clock so we pack up at 10:30 today, lots more union work to be done though…

After popping home for some lunch and doing some UCU branch committee work it is back to Dunkirk for the teach-out event hosted by the Student housing co-op.

An interesting talk on the history of student housing co-ops around the world and an update on Nottingham student housing co-op.

They have several ideas on how UCU and academics could help which I hope to discuss at a future branch meeting:

  • should/could our UCU branch invest in Nottingham Student Housing Co-op?
  • should our UCU branch promote to members to invest / become members of the Nottingham Student Housing Co-opshould our UCU branch ask national UCU to support the Student Housing Co-operative?
  • can academics promote to students?
  • can academics provide access to networks that the housing co-operative do not have access to?
  • can UCU help get us on the university’s agenda?
  • can academics who research in relevant fields engage on the educational level?

Why would we want to do any of these things?

  • The housing co-operative wants to support UCU student members
  • The average student housing co-operator is more likely to engage and support UCU

After the meeting it is back home to write this diary update, help process the local strike fund applications, design the strike social leaflet, create some more why we strike posts for twitter.

Feb 26th, why we strike twitter post @grumpyoldmanjoe

… and have a cup of tea.