By Epigram Reporters
Wednesday 1 December, the first day of Bristol UCU's strike, as part of the national University and College Union industrial action, in photos and videos from the Epigram team.
UCU members are taking strike action in disputes over pensions and the ‘Four Fights’: pay, workload, equality, and casualised contracts.
8:30am – striking UCU members create picket lines at university building entrances.
Bristol UCU pensions representative, Dr. Neil Davies, comments that the university is ‘losing some of [its] best staff’, insufficient pay and pensions meaning that ‘it’s no longer competitive to work here.’ He states that changes to the pension scheme are ‘really serious — they end up making us worse off by hundreds of thousands of pounds by the time we retire.’
Picket line outside the Department of Social Medicine at University of Bristol as staff participate in the first of three days of industrial action #UCUstrikes @EpigramPaper @Bristol_UCU pic.twitter.com/p2D1lCzat6— flora pick (@floraposting) December 1, 2021
10:30am – strikers gradually make their way from their picket lines to assemble outside the Victoria Rooms. Staff members move in small groups and some chanting can be heard.
11:00am – hundreds of university staff assemble outside the Victoria Rooms. Plaques and banners such as ‘we’re at breaking point’ and ‘students support the strike’ are on display.
Members of @Bristol_UCU have come together outside the Victoria Rooms at #BristolUni to start their rally on the first day of their industrial action #UCUstrikes @EpigramPaper pic.twitter.com/mJCjCtHvlf— Filiz (@FilizEmilyGurer) December 1, 2021
An hour of speeches commences with Dr Jamie Melrose, President of the Bristol UCU branch, discussing cuts to pensions and the ‘Four Fights’ as reason for strike action, while expressing anger at the University of Bristol’s inaction: ‘You can afford it, do it.’
11:20am – Bristol student Hamish Chapman vocalises his support for the UCU strikers and encourages students not to cross the picket line.
11:25am – Dan Norris, West of England Metro Mayor, expresses his support of strike action to the crowd.
11:30am – Cllr Carla Denyer, co-leader of the Green Party, addresses the crowd: ‘I am here to stand with you … Greens are out with strikes all over the country today.’
.@TheGreenParty stands with @ucu against the marketisation of education!— Carla Denyer (@carla_denyer) December 1, 2021
I just spoke at the @Bristol_UCU rally in solidarity w uni staff facing pension cuts, insufficient and unequal pay and casualisation.
Lots of Greens are out in support, across the country. #OneOfUsAllOfUs pic.twitter.com/BtGpi3LLov
11:30am– Kit Fortheringham, Bristol UCU’s anti-casualisation officer, speaks of the detrimental impact casual contracts have on university staff, particularly those in academic staff ‘pathways’ two and three. In a direct address to VC Prof. Hugh Brady, he exclaims ‘Do your job!’
11:40am – Lauren Hennessy, a UoB Research Associate, picks up the discussion of casualised contracts and its impact on staff redundancies.
11:45am – Tonia Novitz, Bristol UCU Vice-President, gives a speech on the need for solidarity, both between ‘levels’ of staff members and between students and staff.
“Our working conditions are our students learning conditions” - Tonia Novitz, Bristol UCU Vice-President, speaks about the need for student-staff solidarity. #UCUstrike @EpigramPaper pic.twitter.com/97FealMYod— Billy Stockwell (@StockwellBilly) December 1, 2021
11:50am – Approximately 300 protestors begin their march from the Victoria Rooms to College Green. Chants of ‘Students and workers unite and strike’ are heard from the crowd, who block traffic on Queen’s Avenue and Park Street.
12:00pm – The march ends at College Green, where strikers congregate and draw attention from members of the public.
The UCU strike continues on tomorrow and Friday 3 December.
Featured Image: Epigram / Holly Beaumont
Further information on the reasons for the UCU's strike action can be found HERE.