Today an anti-casualisation rally took place on the picket line at KCL. Despite the rain there was a strong amount of support from both students and staff (and a few bus drivers in passing traffic!) who gathered to listen to militant workers from different sectors of the workforce at King’s discussing their experiences in a supposedly ‘world-class’ institution.
Across the board, whether GTAs, cleaning staff or academics, the issues are the same and staff are undermined in the same struggle. In each case it was clear to workers that the marketisation of education is to blame for worsening conditions for staff. Whilst a minority at the top continue to receive six-figure salaries, staff are subject to increasing instability with shorter, precarious contracts and irregular pay.
Many workers linked this to increasing mental-health problems as workers are increasingly pressurised, stressed and anxious over the struggles that they face. The political conclusions drawn on the picket line, then, represents the radicalism of the strikers.
This rally demonstrates the determined mood amongst staff to continue to disrupt the university by mobilising larger numbers for the picket lines. An important step in this has been through inviting cleaning staff part of Unison to share their struggles in working at KCL, in order to show that the UCU pension strikes is just one symptom of a much broader political struggle for better living conditions.
Students and workers – unite and fight!
Manon Powrie, KCL Marxists