Glad you joined the show…. and how was breakfast?

Cleaners and security guards had been on the picket lines from Unison from 6.30 am

Given that the Unison cleaning staff had been on the picket line since 6.30 this morning (and similarly the two days before), it wasn’t surprising that UCU members arriving only at 8 am were greeted with friendly statements of the nature of ‘Glad you did decide to join the show eventually….’ and enquiries like ‘so how was your breakfast this morning’?

Nothing as good as good humour to brighten up a Scottish morning

This good humoured rivalry continued throughout the morning although the provision of a UCU Gazebo, some teas and coffees and some cracking Spotify playlists did have the cleaners and UCU members dancing about on the pavements outside GCU. It was that sort of picket – lots of laughter and enjoyment, but also determination that our spirits wouldn’t be dampened despite our employers current failure to come up with the goods.

Dancing to ‘What’s Going On’ – exactly what we’ve been asking management

The UCU had it’s new student facing leaflet (although Unison claimed their union flags put our printed word to shame). Roz Foyer the General Secretary of the Scottish TUC, was diplomatic as always in cross union issues, allowing herself to be photographed holding a placard from each union together.

On the left, Roz Foyer the General Secretary of the Scottish TUC, was diplomatic as always in cross union issues, allowing herself to be photographed holding a placard from each union together. Davena from Unison on the right. UCU took the photo….

Again we must mention that the student turnout was terrific – in fact it was the best it had been with 8-10 additional student faces who had come to join us, one bringing cakes for the pickets.

Overall we judged it at times to be an even better turnout in terms of numbers than the joint UCU/EIS picket line of last week (but watch this space when the joint UCU/EIS picket line reappears next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday).

A great turnout again from staff at GCU

The weather was generally kind overall except for what will be known in future as the ‘Gazebo incident’ when the failure of one of the UCU members (OK I confess it was myself) to anchor two of the legs of the Gazebo with our weights almost gave the concept of a ‘flying picket’ a new reality due to the wind.

No damage was done, and Wilbur the dog, brought along by one of the UCU’s green reps, looked on in amusement as the humans held the gazebo firmly in position until the weights were re-attached.

Wilbur watching the Gazebo almost flying away…..

Two GCU journalism students who had just finished interviewing pickets for their ‘Newsdays’ assignment (we seem to have provided ‘copy’ for at least 20 students studying various media orientated topics over the last half a dozen pickets), just missed the Gazebo incident as well, which they thought was a pity in terms of a ‘scoop’ for their footage.

We had great support again from the public – this has been a really heartening aspect of the picket lines – it was quite deafening some times as the cars, taxis and lorries, reacted to our new ‘Honk Strike, Honk Strike’ placards ( thanks Alice and Sarah).

We did some short vox pops with the new students who had appeared and which you can listen to below.

Eilidh and Blair – 2nd year social science: “We’re going to miss 5 weeks of classes because our lecturers are on strike and I want to be able to support our staff so that they get fair pay and we get a better learning experience….. Please consider the demands….. It’s really important expecially during these hard times

‘We’re here to show solidarity with out lecturers….give them what they’re due. To management we’d say ‘Listen to your workers and pay more… give them a fair wage’

Students showing their vocal support

Our general message to management remains – watch this space. We’re not going anywhere soon. As our banner over the large GCU – University for the Common Good Stone at the entrance reads “Our working conditions are your teaching conditions.” We want to make both much better.

Getting praise doesn’t put food on the table – higher wages helps!

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