Wednesday, September 16, 2009

strike

I spent four hours this morning looking on this scene, as it was in front of me as I struck this morning holding down a picket line.

It was an interesting position, staffed by myself and a gentleman probably 15 years my senior. We handed out leaflets explaining that the NTEU had called a strike on the basis of the university's decision to cut 220 jobs on very little realistic reasoning. This is bad for those 220 people of course, and also for students. Only one person - someone I had previously met - decided not to cross the picket line,* unless you count the other person who did a wide u-turn in front of me, though that could have been for any reason. Most of the time the attitude was that this was something we were doing for our own nefarious (or misguided, or benevolent) purposes. Staff members would often decline a leaflet on the basis that 'I've already got one' (rather than engage at all on the issue of why they weren't striking). Many people took leaflets and just said 'thanks'. Very occasionally people would give a reason eg 'I need to hand in a paper', 'I am on a contract and I need the money', etc. Some were hostile, though silently in the 'I am too important don't waste my time' style. It was all pretty disheartening.

* However this person then wanted to confer on where was a good place to get on campus without crossing a picket line.

6 comments:

lucy tartan said...

um, wow. Bad. Who the hell crosses a picket line?

BwcaBrownie said...

Gosh for a mad moment I thought you were a jockey ... umm ... Harvard U is cutting back jobs too and their operating budget is US$36 Billion p.a. (my ref on this is Vanity Fair magazine)

anyhow United We Stand comrade.
Up The Workers.
Bad things happen when good people do nothing.

Fabric Nation said...

Good for you both hanging in there. We've had lots of postal workers strikes and it's shocking how negative people are. They don't seem to realsie what it takes to go on strike. Good luck with it.

Kathryn said...

Good on you for being there, doing your bit for the good of the whole. The world is full of free-loaders. It's very disheartening that there are so many at universities, a place where one surely should be able to expect a slightly more enlightened attitude.

bren luke said...

That's a sad state of affairs on all counts and I share your frustrations. It was the same for me at the peak of "Hansonism" and the begining of Howard's Agenda when I was at Uni, to trying help organise rallys and the like against the wave of neo-conservatism. Students and staff were sickeningly appathetic, on the other hand it was Ballarat Uni.

Kudos to you David for taking a stand

BwcaBrownie said...

oh Bren Bren Bren - I feel your pain - Ballarat Tech a.k.a 'Uni' is no place for an enquiring mind.
The whole lot of them think 16 units each with a 51 mark constitutes a knowledge.
I had a Marketing lecturer who had Never Heard of Calvin Klein, Louis Comfort Tiffany's art or any of the 117 Tiffany stores, and he was replaced in semester 2 by a lecturer from London who HAD NEVER HEARD OF THE SIMPSONS. A marketing lecturer.
That's the equivalent of a Nursing lecturer not having heard of Marie Curie.
When I expressed dismay, my fellow 3rd year Business Degree students said
"the simpsons are so over now anyhow". morons the lot of them.