On Tuesday activists taking part in occupations and other activism around the UK in solidarity with the UCU strikes got together for a zoom call. As well as discussing how we can coordinate nationally, we also heard reports from the occupations. Here’s what the Cambridge occupation reported:
“The Cambridge occupation has been going on since 3 March. There has been open access through a ground-floor window. On the first day we had over 50 people inside- many were drawn to the events we’ve hosted inside the occupation, which we’ve called ‘Solidarity College’.
The space we’ve occupied is the main administrative building. On Monday, we escalated and took further floors, so we now have three floors of the building! This now includes private management rooms, finance offices- these are things the university needs to function. We haven’t had much grief from security – though we have a court hearing for Friday.
We have started negotiating with management and on Monday, we won our first demand of union recognition for the Cambridge UCU branch. Our other demands are that the VC makes statements that demand national pension schemes and employers recognise and meet UCU’s demands.
We’ve hosted film nights – we’ve had Parasite and Sorry to Bother You – and a ceilidh. On Friday, Ian Hodson, National President of the Bakers Union, will be speaking at our final mass meeting. We’ve emailed Corbyn, McDonnell, Rebecca Long Bailey, Zarah Sultana to ask them to speak too.
Our fourth demand is an end to the hostile environment on campus. We held rallies outside the building before the occupation as part of a day based around the hostile environment, visa issues, and migrant workers. This has been a problem with getting people into the occupation – those on precarious visas feel there’s too much risk to get involved. We want to centre this at every stage as part of our demands.”