Strikes

Nov. 30th, 2011 10:38 am
liv: cast iron sign showing etiolated couple drinking tea together (argument)
[personal profile] liv
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.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-11-30 02:13 pm (UTC)
purplecthulhu: (Default)
From: [personal profile] purplecthulhu
I am striking today, for reasons posted over on LJ, but I fully understand your reasons for doing university work at home - as you say, this is for your benefit and much less so for anybody else. I feel able to strike today because I don't have any teaching, because I'm up to speed on grants etc., and, to be honest, I'm using the time to catch up on some fiction writing.

I'm also severely annoyed at the legal blackmail used by our employers to force through the pension changes, and this is one of the ways I can protest against that.

I know there's been some stupid politics in UCU surrounding Israel, but was unaware of the antisemitism motion, which sounds very odd, or the links between UCU Left and the SWP, so thanks for the links to that. I've been deeply suspicious of UCU Left ever since that label started turning up in election material, and always vote for other candidates. I'll be much keener to oppose them at the next election.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-11-30 05:39 pm (UTC)
403: Caffiene molecule in yellow and blue. (Caffiene)
From: [personal profile] 403
That sounds like a crummy set of options. Hope you're able to find a livable path through them.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-11-30 10:16 pm (UTC)
emperor: (Default)
From: [personal profile] emperor
I quite appreciate the problem of striking as a researcher (especially a postdoc) being rather self-defeating. My approach is to do some researchy things at home and self-declare as having been on strike when the university asks. This seems to balance supporting the industrial action with not too much self-inflicted pain.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-12-01 01:41 pm (UTC)
khalinche: (Default)
From: [personal profile] khalinche
I did not know that about UCU. Thank you for pointing it out.

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