The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.
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5:13pm on Wednesday, 30th November, 2011:
There were picket lines at the university this morning. There must have been 10 cars in front of me when I arrived at about 8:15. The drivers wound their windows down politely to listen to what the pickets had to say, then crossed the line anyway. After all, if you know there's a strike and have nevertheless driven your car to work, it's unlikely you're going to turn round and go home unless you're threatened with physical violence. I dare say they might have run after me had I decided not to stop to listen to them and just driven past, but by then I was actually vaguely interested in what they were telling people.
Here's how the conversation went:
Picket: Are you a member of the USS pension scheme?
Picket: You're not a scab then.
(Picket waves me through).
Actually, I'm not sure about the "scab" there. He had an Irish accent and it sounded more like "spod" or "spot". You don't get that with traditional Scottish or Liverpudlian trade union branch leaders, who have regional accents designed for industrial disputes.
There were four people at the entrance to the university I used. There were more like fifteen at the front entrance where the TV crews were more likely to show up. However, there was only one car there when I looked at about 8:30. This is because there aren't actually all that many parking spaces underneath the university (which is where the front entrance road goes).
As for why I didn't go on strike myself, well I'm not in the union, not in the pension scheme, and even if I were I don't think the strike will meet its aims. If there's no money, there's not a lot an be done about it no matter how unfair it seems. Still, if going on strike makes people feel as if they're doing something about the situation, hey, let off some steam and go for it.
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