Bristol University invites its staff to strike for the climate


By Maggie Sawant, Students' Union Correspondent

Extinction Rebellion have said they value the University's  leadership in the sector and welcome their 'positive intent'.

The University of Bristol has invited all staff to stop working for 30 minutes tomorrow, 20 September, as an expression of support for the Global Climate Strike taking place.

The time off, which is scheduled to begin at 12pm, does not have to be spent attending protests in the city. The University has suggested that staff may use their half an hour to ‘go for a walk’. They also do not have to take any time off work: whether they strike remains their personal choice.

However, the University will not support staff who wish to take longer than 30 minutes away from work to support the strike.

Bristol SU is giving staff slightly longer to join the protests, offering them an extra hour on top of their usual lunch break tomorrow.

George Bemrose, Student Living Officer at the SU, told Epigram,‘It’s great that staff are being given the opportunity to join the strike and show support, particularly before such a busy period of time at the University.’

However, Amy Gibbs, a second-year Law student and supporter of Extinction Rebellion, told Epigram that although she welcomes the University’s support for the climate strikers, she doubts ‘how useful 30 minutes is.’

The University has stated that ‘the stoppage is an expression of solidarity with young people protesting against climate change’, and its support for the strike follows its declaration of a climate emergency in April this year, where it became the first UK University to make such a declaration.

A spokesperson for the University told Epigram‘We will be supporting any of our staff who choose to join young people in Bristol on Friday, 20 September, in a planned 30-minute stoppage as part of the global day of action in response to the growing threat of climate change.’

Extinction Rebellion have welcomed the University’s ‘positive intent’ saying they ‘value the university’s leadership in becoming the first UK university to declare a climate emergency’.

‘We encourage university staff and working people across Bristol to follow their consciences in light of the evidence of the climate crisis when deciding how, when and where to support the strike.’

The global strike is a day of massive action for climate activists around the world, and there is increasing pressure on adults to join the protests by walking out of their workplaces as students walk out of schools.

Lush, the cosmetics retailer, is shutting down all of its stores and operations, and has asked its 5000 employees to join in the climate strike.

Two strikes will take place in Bristol on the day. The first is due to take place between 12 and 12:30pm on College Green, where the majority of protesters are expected to be school strikers. The second will start at 5pm opposite the Bristol Hippodrome.

Featured Image: Twitter / @Strike4Youth

What are your thoughts on the climate strike? Let us know!