The strike was all well and good, but it won't change anything

Nothing will change as a result of yesterday's action, argues Eleanor Doughty

Two years ago, hungover and aching from a "mad Wednesday" night out, I slept through my first experience of strike action. This year, in my final year, I have a four-hours-a-week timetable, and yesterday there was a strike. You might have heard about it.

A combined effort of activities outside my control and yesterday’s strike meant that I received zero hours of teaching this week. Next week is reading week, which I will spend by the fire with my cat. What a lovely fortnight off. Less lovely, imaginably, was the picket line at East Gate, Mile End Road, where my Thursday morning tutor had pitched up.

Earlier in the week, a straw poll revealed that the majority of my peers were unaware of the strike’s appearance.

More interesting than the traditional whinge that valuable study time has been lost – ergo, some money too – is the position of contemporary British strike culture. The 1996 Police Act bans officers from striking at any time. Several ballots have been offered to reform this in the last decade, none of which have followed through, thankfully. But many professions lack a union – strike action is one of the fundamentals of unfair dismissal: employees can't be legally sacked for striking.

That education allows its employees to strike, should they be part of a union and follow the rules, might be liberating in times in strife. It provides a "get out", a way of expressing distress. This time, it concerns just one day of lectures – it isn’t the end of times. Yesterday was, undoubtedly, viewed by too many students as a lucky lie in. It happened to be a Thursday, the morning after Wednesday sport night – our monthly sports "mad one".

But the striking question runs deeper than an authorised class absence. Ultimately, students are affected and still nothing will change. Teaching staff will not, it is almost certain, be given the financial support they demand. Standing on either side of the picket line will not guarantee financial reward. The Government will not consider their actions; the students will, and some will be rightly frustrated. My peers have asked, and will keep asking, what’s the point of it all. Those who do not have the time made up will feel cheated, for striking achieves nothing.

We accept that conditions are unfair, that staff in all sectors should be better rewarded. That hell, the cleaning staff should be better funded, especially those tasked with washing down the student union bar after a Wednesday night out. But we also know that things will not alter as a result of a strike day.

Through all of this, the silent majority linger in my mind. Those in professions who cannot strike will fail to receive a pay rise. They too live in cold houses, donning three jumpers because it isn’t appropriate to have the heating on. Those in higher education are not alone in their strife, they are simply able to physically protest.

News
newsVideo targets undecided voters
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Pixie Lott will take part in Strictly Come Dancing 2014, the BBC has confirmed
tv
Life and Style
Cooked up: reducing dietary animal fat might not be as healthy as government advice has led millions of people to believe
healthA look at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
News
Evan Spiegel, the founder of Snapchat, dropped out of Stanford University just before graduation to develop his app
techAnd yes, it is quite a lot
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Pricing Manager, Finance, Edinburgh, £250-350p/d

£250 - £350 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is cur...

SEN Tutor- Speech and Language Specialist part time

£80 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...

Cover Supervisor

£45 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunities for Cover Sup...

IT Teacher September strt with view to permanent post

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: IT...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?
Rachael Lander interview: From strung out to playing strings

From strung out to playing strings

Award-winning cellist Rachael Lander’s career was almost destroyed by the alcohol she drank to fight stage fright. Now she’s playing with Elbow and Ellie Goulding
The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?

A big fat surprise about nutrition?

The science linking saturated fats to heart disease and other health issues has never been sound. Nina Teicholz looks at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
Emmys 2014 review: Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars

Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars?

The recent Emmy Awards are certainly glamorous, but they can't beat their movie cousins
On the road to nowhere: A Routemaster trip to remember

On the road to nowhere

A Routemaster trip to remember
Hotel India: Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind

Hotel India

Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind
10 best pencil cases

Back to school: 10 best pencil cases

Whether it’s their first day at school, uni or a new project, treat the student in your life to some smart stationery
Arsenal vs Besiktas Champions League qualifier: Gunners know battle with Turks is a season-defining fixture

Arsenal know battle with Besiktas is a season-defining fixture

Arsene Wenger admits his below-strength side will have to improve on last week’s show to pass tough test
Pete Jenson: Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought

Pete Jenson: A Different League

Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought
This guitar riff has been voted greatest of all time

The Greatest Guitar Riff of all time

Whole Lotta Votes from Radio 2 listeners
Britain’s superstar ballerina

Britain’s superstar ballerina

Alicia Markova danced... every night of the week and twice on Saturdays
Berlin's Furrie invasion

Berlin's Furrie invasion

2000 fans attended Eurofeurence
‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

Driven to the edge by postpartum psychosis