Strike Day 13 – Thurs 15th March – ‘Lock Down’

Well, you just never know what’s in store on a GU picket day. It all started quite normally; I arrived late (again) around 8.05am. The early shift had a new placard! It was almost a prophecy for the day.

Using Glasgow’s well known fishy bell tree wi that bird that canny sing as a backdrop, the message was clear. ‘Together we stand’. Today would be a great day for solidarity and would end with my sermon on the mount (ok the wee wall across the road). But, first thing’s first. Why are we still on strike? That’s a question, we’re on strike, so that needs a leaflet. Poor Diarmaid had taken on the task of leafleting every car that used the main gate and by day 13 was pig sick of the sight of our ‘pensions axed’ bright yellow leaflet. He seemed visibly moved, I detected a tear of gratitude, when I presented him with @BrianOSmith1967’s newest academic publication. Maybe not REF-returnable but probably more useful 🙂

The drivers of picket-line crossing cars looked confused by this new white leaflet. So just sticking a yellow leaflet on your dashboard from day#3 of the struggle just ain’t gonna cut it today buddy. OR TOMORROW 😂 By about 9am our numbers we’re looking pretty healthy;

….and then the news broke. Students have occupied the Senate room and locked themselves in. Having previously asked us if we could do afternoon pickets to avoid having to get up in the morning we were somewhat baffled as to how they got in before we arrived this morning? Did they sneak in last night? Did they use the underground passages? Oh actually, better keep quiet on that one. I’m not sure if the Student Anarchist group are aware of the underground network of passages. Anyway, back on the surface it was clear something was going down. I decided to go deep undercover and investigate. Julie took my high-vis bib and armband. I immediately felt invisible as I melted into the crowd. Arriving at the cloisters it was eerily quiet. The doors to the court office, Senate and other meeting rooms were locked. An extremely serious looking security officer was checking all passes. My declaration of importance ‘UCU picket supervisor, just want to get some photies’ registered no more than a suspicious stare and a ‘I’ll need to get the chief security officer’. It was clear my security clearance was lower than those underground passages. Whilst deliberating on my next move, VP Neal Juster arrived at the perimeter where he was duly informed that the complex was in ‘lock-down’. I suppressed my guffaw (just) as NJ went off in search of the COO, who was yet to arrive on the scene. Even the West Quad was in lock down

Fortunately Q had supplied me with a discrete camera in my hat and I managed to get this candid shot of the operation in full swing. Whilst talking to one young security officer I heard the order come through on the walkie-talkie that a ‘Campus Sweep’ was required!. Presumably they needed the guy with the leaf blower but I know that he was out front blowing all the leaves on to our picket lines – we had that discussion earlier in the morning. With the lock-down complete, the campus swept for roving protestors, a perimeter secured and Jack Bauer on his way, it was time to post some guards and settle in for the long haul. After the legendary Hetherington occupation of a few years ago, lessons had been learned. The decision to put the helicopters and police dogs on hold had clearly been taken by central command. For the moment it was Student Strike Solidarity 1 Campus Security 0

I went back out to the front lines to brief El Presidente on my mission and to await further instruction. In the spirit of Solidarity, there was only one thing for it. Suspend the picket for 15 minutes and march into the West Quad to bring messages of thanks and solidarity.

We stayed for about 10 minutes showing our support and then headed back to do our (picket) duty. We picked up Kate (SRC president) on the way back and chatted about what exactly is the Uni doing with our strike pay?

Great banner folks. Let’s get the view from inside;

Now, I’ve done a wee bit of sailing in my time but I have never seen that particular knot. Can someone please advise? Looks like a hybrid sheet-bend with a hidden clove hitch. That takes some serious planning. This is clearly a crack occupation group. On the upside, I hope our colleagues in GMB are getting good overtime for watching over our students. That’s all kinds of solidarity right there. No losers 👍🏻✌️

Lastly it was drill practice time. We felt the battalion needed another run through before the big march tomorrow. We would be going right through the town, on public display, so the opportunity for a dress rehearsal could not be missed;

‘Our pension, their education, come out and fight’. I’m sorry, maybe it’s the academic in me but does that placard not have two vowels missing? We’ll let it pass this time👨‍🎓 Seriously though, our students are utterly amazing. Their support has been incredible and has made these past 13 days far more enjoyable than they ever should have been. And so to the sermon on the wee wall.

This would be the last time I address the troops. Tomorrow we will disperse from George Sq and so this was a last chance to say thanks and explain how very very important each picketer was in this dispute. We forced UUK back to the table and rejected their rotten offer. However, they know that we are serious, we can do 14 days in crap weather. So doing 14 days in good weather when all the non-strikers get left to mark and administer the exam scripts? I say bring it on. Hon Sec out✌️


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UCU Glasgow
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