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Strikes 2020: Day 3… staying dry

Published: 24th February, 2020

The current pattern of weather continued today. While we’re lucky enough not to be flooded in central Leicester, the constant rain and wind on this morning’s pickets made it challenging to keep our placards and ourselves dry. At least our loudspeaker is waterproof!

Picketer with intact umbrella
Picketer with semi-intact umbrella
Picketer disposing of broken umbrella

Our theme for the day (before seeing the weather forecast) was #petsonpicketlines and while most of our furry friends from the last few strikes weren’t overly keen on today’s weather, our newest furry member – Gabrielle – was here bright and early with her own waterproof. The famous branch trombonist was also caught monkeying around…

Soft toy money with purple toy trombone.

After 3+ hours at our picket sites, while a few branch officers nipped off for a meeting with the deputy vice-chancellor (no doubt glad for the warmth and dry of the Fielding Johnson Building), everyone else gathered at the Victoria Park picket. First, Labour MP Jon Ashworth addressed the crowd and showing his support for the UCU strikes in the struggle to improve working conditions in higher education. Second, Justine Mercer (of Warwick UCU and one of the Midlands region’s HE reps on UCU’s national executive committee) took to the megaphone to thank Leicester UCU for inspiring other branches through our lively picketing activities over the last few strikes.

Although our members have voted to accept a offer of strike pay deductions over 5 months in return for not demonstrating on campus, this has not stopped the music and drumming on picket lines… this will only continue and the volume will only get louder…

Indeed, tomorrow (25th Feb) is Mardi Gras party day on our picket lines. Come along wearing your best mask, feathers, beads and beachwear [ed: beachwear??? Really?!], with instruments to jazz up Day 4. Pancakes will also be most welcomed by hungry strikers.

And the weather won’t stop us either… fortunately there’s a local business that does laminating. It really will be a Fat Tuesday.