Lessons from Cambridge

Submitted by Zac Muddle on 21 November, 2019 - 12:08 Author: A Cambridge UCU member
Demonstration organised at Cambridge, 20 September

Our advice to other workers, based on our experience in the 20 September climate strike, is:

1. Begin with a very low-stakes, but highly visible, action. In our case, this was simply a group photo in front of a banner during what would otherwise be most people’s lunch break, taking advantage of the 20 minute walkout that the TUC had backed.

2. Go into workplaces and ask if you can put up posters/leave leaflets. This is perhaps easier on the site we targeted as we had several university departments, a vet surgery, and a construction site all in close proximity.

3. If your union officially backs the climate strikes, then ask them to advertise your event via their own channels.

4. Have literature that you can hand to people on the day. We made a simple bulletin, which included a QR code linked to our email account for people who want to stay in touch.

For the November climate strike, we are adding to this strategy by contacting people in advance who can help us build for the walkout so that more people feel invested in the campaign and by leafleting outside workplaces of industrial sectors with an especially high environmental impact (in our case, the nearby BP Institute). We also plan to distribute literature on the UCU picket lines, as we will be on strike on that day anyway.

Moreover, we have asked workers in other sectors who plan to perform actions for the climate strike to visit UCU picket lines, having explained to them that our UCU branch intends to have a climate change theme for its wider activity on that date.

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