On October 20th, a thousand students and education workers turned out for a highly successful Education Bloc, organised by the University of London Union (ULU), on the Trade Union Congress (TUC) demonstration, ‘For a Future that Works’.
ULU’s Education Bloc was supported by all the student unions in the University of London, plus several campus trade union branches of Unison and the University and College Union (UCU).
In addition to the presence of local London colleges, it was also joined on the day by contingents from universities including Birmingham, Hull, Portsmouth, Cambridge, University of East Anglia, Sheffield, Newcastle, Liverpool, and a bloc of workers from Camden TUC.
Those assembled heard from speakers including Owen Jones (author and member of the Labour Representation Committee), Mark Campbell from the UCU, Becky Crocker from the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT), and Laura Schwartz from Save the Women’s Library.
In contrast to the bland message from the TUC, who opposed all feeder marches on the day, the mood on the Education Bloc was militant and raised slogans such as ‘tax the rich to fund education’, ‘no to privatisation’ and ‘defend international students.’
The strong attendance by students on the TUC demonstration demonstrates that students are identifying with the interests of workers in their struggle against the government’s cuts agenda; not least because the line between students and workers is increasingly blurred now that a high proportion of students are in part-time work.
The Education Bloc also shows that ULU can be an effective vehicle for student-worker unity, a project which we hope to develop with our Rights at Work campaign to organise student workers and promote workers’ struggles in the student movement.
Building upon the successful mobilisation for the TUC demonstration, ULU is co-sponsoring a series of London demonstration organising committees with the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC) to build for the National Union of Students (NUS) demonstration on November 21st. The first of these meetings is on Tuesday 30th October at 7pm in ULU, Room 3C: https://www.facebook.com/events/238662942927726/?fref=ts