When I posted two weeks ago about being on strike, I had rather assumed that the dispute would have moved forward enough by this stage for us to be back at work. Sadly, that is not the case. Progress has been made: our employers have stopped saying that the whole thing is a done deal that we have to accept, and have returned to the negotiating table. But no agreement has been reached, so the strike goes on.
We have now had an unprecedented two weeks of strike action, including eight actual strike days, two days when the University was closed due to snow, and one day of normal work, which felt very strange.
I have not been on the picket line every day, but I have an average attendance so far of every other day. I cunningly managed to miss out Tuesday 6 March when it rained heavily. But I was there on more than one day when my hiking boots, with three pairs of socks, were insufficient to keep my feet warm. I ended up with some chilblains as a result; fortunately a weekend away from the picket line has seen my toes return to normal.
On the final strike day of last week I attended a rally outside the Scottish Parliament. Fortunately, the weather that day was glorious, and it was nice to see speakers from almost all political parties turning out to express their support.
It is, of course, for Father Ted reasons, obligatory these days for every demonstration to have at least one sign saying “Careful now” and/or “Down with this sort of thing”; one of my colleagues was responsible for the example in my photo. A far more recent trend is three signs in homage to the film “Three billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri“, with black text on a red ground. They are too far away to be read in my photo; what they say is
- Principal gets 33% pay hike
- and our pensions cut?
- How come, University of Edinburgh?
As I write, we are still waiting for an answer to those questions.