Day two of strike action at GCU started well and early again though we were glad of the weights that stopped the Gazebo going skyward, given the turn in the weather. Again a great and positive response from students – including some GCU journalism students who came down to interview pickets for their ‘newsdays’ assignments.
Not so many kids at the rally given the teachers were back in work today, and despite the number of officially distributed picket whistles, surprisingly perhaps no dogs.
Mary Senior, the UCU Scotland official had visited the picket line yesterday to give moral support, and today it was the turn of Deborah Shepherd, from EIS who spent some time with us prior to the joint union rally at the Donald Dewar statue in Buchanan Street.
Conversations on the picket line covered our Principal, Pamela Gillies’ statement in the Times Higher Education magazine (Download paywall free version here) that “We’ve been underpaying our staff for many, many years, and our staff really are angry now” and her belief that “Our staff are our jewels in the crown, and we need to properly reward them”, and the interview this morning with Mary Senior of UCU on Good Morning Scotland telling listeners that “we are in an unsustainable situation” (listen here: from 1:40:57 to 1:46:38). Also discussed was the appearance of UCU General Secretary Jo Grady on yesterday’s newsnight programme demolishing the ‘car crash’ arguments of UCEA’s Raj Jethwa who colleagues believed had come across as a bit of an automaton.
It was good to see colleagues out from a different cross-section of departments compared to yesterday – which bodes well for next Wednesday’s UCU strike.
At 10 o’clock Graham Wylie, secretary of GCU’s Unite branch (whose ballot for industrial action had just missed the 50 percent threshold for action by a handful of votes, thus preventing them from joining us) again delivered hot rolls, which were very welcome as the cold was beginning to bite for those of us out since 7.15 this morning.
After a brief respite in the Student Association building for hot drinks (thanks for the offer of using your facilities colleagues!) we joined the rally at the Donald Dewar statue which heard a series of inspiring speakers. Dewar was his usual dour self looking down at the strikers, but I recall he was never one to favour industrial action personally.