Nov. 30th, 2011

Strikes

Nov. 30th, 2011 10:38 am
liv: cast iron sign showing etiolated couple drinking tea together (argument)
I'm generally mildly pro-Union. That is, I think it's a good thing that Unions exist, I am in favour of collective bargaining by employees and the right to strike if employers and those in power aren't treating workers fairly. But Union and employment rights aren't my number one political priority and I don't devote a lot of time and effort to these issues.

I'm definitely in favour the decision of public sector workers (including several of my friends) to strike today. Cuts to public sector pensions and laying off the extremely vital workers who do the paperwork and admin that keeps the country running are no way to deal with the financial crisis and are wildly unfair. Those striking today have my full respect.

What they don't have is my participation; I'm at work today. There are lots of reasons for this. One is that university academics are in a bit of a funny position in terms of whether we count as public sector or not. One is that my striking today would inconvenience nobody but myself. I happen not to have any teaching duties today, and a day spent not working on my grants would disadvantage me far more than my employers or the general public. The main reason is that the Union I ought to be a member of, UCU, voted earlier this year to allow antisemitism because they think that restricting antisemistism stifles criticism of Israel. I would be willing to join a TU that was anti-Israel, it's not something I feel that strongly about. I am not willing to join a union that actively opposes attempts to tackle antisemitism, nor one that's in bed with the Socialist Workers Party.

I'm lucky enough that I can choose to work in ways that don't require me to physically cross picket lines. So I'm working at my computer, away from campus. I don't feel great about this, but that's the situation.

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Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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