Here’s everything that happened at the Bristol University strikes today
They’re in it to win it
The second week of strikes kicked off in earnest this morning at the University of Bristol. Staff and students alike once again united in opposition against proposed changes to the staff pension scheme.
From 8am, picket lines were set up outside almost every building. In near freezing temperatures, staff and students banged pots, played guitars, sang songs, and stood in solidarity to protest the approximate £10,000 per annum cut to staff pensions.
From 10:30am, over 1,000 people descended on Senate House to hear an update from the UCU on the weekend progress, and to make their voices heard by University management, five floors above them.
When asked why they were out protesting today, students Bob and Stan said: "It wasn't even really a decision for us, we had to do it because they're the people that care about us, so we're going to care about them."
At around 11:15am, protesters marched on the Triangle, down Park Street, all the way to College Green with signs, drums, pans, music, and more.
When asked if she thought the strike action would make a difference, Marianna, a lecturer from the History Department told The Tab, "It has to. We're not going back to work until the unions negotiage with UUK. It's not an option for it to fail."
After a brief rally on College Green, protesters made their way gradually up to Wills Memorial Building for the final rally of the day at 1:30pm.
At the same time, the Vice-Chancellor, Hugh Brady, was chairing a meeting of Senate. The members of Senate protesting the proposed changes submitted a petition with 1,500 signatures to the Vice-Chancellor demanding that he return to the negotiating table with no pre-conditions.
Well over 300 people gathered to hear speeches from the UCU Chief Negotiator in Bristol, the Bristol People's Assembly, a lecturer from UWE (whose lecturers are not striking), and the Student-Staff Solidarity Group.
When asked why she was attending the rally, second year Beth Southern told The Tab: "These are people who have given their lives to academia, and now they are being screwed, basically."
Immediately following the speeches, staff and UCU reps sent around 50 students inside to protest outside the Reception Room, where the Senate meeting was taking place.
Students chanted: "Hugh Brady shame on you, we deserve our pensions too", before attempting to storm the meeting room itself.
After a brief confrontation with University Security, the Vice-Chancellor invited two representatives from the Staff-Student Solidarity Group and one UCU representative to go in and address Senate directly.
Students Kate Raison and Ruth Day emerged 15 minutes later and reported that the Vice-Chancellor was willing to reopen negotiations, but under the pre-condition that they agree a long-term plan, not a short-term fix. The UCU is yet to respond to the Vice-Chancellor's offer.
Staff are set to strike on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. If no solution is found, strikes will run from Monday-Thursday next week, and then the full week after that.
No further rallies are planned for this week, but UCU Representatives told protesters that more are planned for Monday next week should they not come to an agreement with UUK.
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