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November 30th, 2011:

30 November – A fantastic day of solidarity in Southampton

Southampton UCU started it’s day of action early, braving the cold and drizzle to set up our pickets at the Highfield Campus of the University of Southampton.


Soon we were joined by a group of supportive students (the banner reads ‘Workers and Students United’) outside the UCU office, where we refueled, warmed our frozen feet and prepared to march into town….


On the way we saw a striking message left on the Physics building…


And then we marched 100-strong into the city centre, where we prepared to join our colleagues in our sister unions in a march to the rally at Guildhall Square.


UCU had a strong presence in the march, featuring our own large contingent along with colleagues from Southampton City College, Eastleigh College and Southampton Solent.


The march through the city centre was abuzz with energy, as passers-by stopped to wave, shout their support and take pictures.


Finally we arrived at Guildhall Square, where the massive crowd was treated to speeches from representatives of unions from across Southampton and south-west Hampshire, including our very own Professor Catherine Pope.  The gathering was boisterous and enthusiastic, but always peaceful, and filled with optimism.  Hopefully a sign of things to come!

All told the day of action was a smashing success.  We were thrilled at the turnout for the march into town, and our pickets were strong and well-received: we were visited by Vice-Chancellor Don Nutbeam (who later sent us free coffee and tea!), Director of Human Resources Janice Donaldson, Registrar Tessa Harrison, and Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Adam Wheeler.  Everyone engaged us in civil and spirited debate, and expressed their appreciation for our conduct during this industrial action, and we are grateful to them for stopping by and talking with us.

Southampton UCU would like to thank all members who came out to picket and march today, and we would especially like to thank the students who joined us on the march, showed their support all day, and distributed our flyers all around the campus beyond where our pickets could reach — you were all fantastic, and your support means a great deal to us.

A great day without a doubt, both for Southampton and for the country as a whole.  Let’s keep the momentum going!


Eric Silverman