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Date: 30/06/11

Struck Out

Quite a satisfying day today.

We (that is, members of PCS, UCU, ATL and NUT) were on strike today in protest at this wretched régime of millionaire idlers' plans to make us pay more for our pensions, get less back from them and make us work longer before we can claim even that.

So I had a late start to the day (always welcome - getting up at 06:15 is a real bind a lot of the time, even in summer) and set off at 10:00 to go down and visit the picket line outside The Employer (as I now find it safest to refer to them).

When I got there, there were about four of ours supplemented by representatives from some of the other unions involved and someone from the TUC itself. Some of the media (BBC) and press (Daily Post) turned up while I was there and took video and photographs (including one here: the third picture down - I'm the one in the middle who looks like he's wearing a fright wig).

Support for the strike had been pretty solid there, with only what one might call 'the usual suspects' going in; either non-union members (although that, as I understand it, does not preclude anyone from not working) or members of other unions (bizarrely, if you are in a union but not one which is on strike, you can't join in the fun). We also had good support from people passing in cars, vans and buses, with just the occasional outburst of abuse from the equivalent of 'white van man'.

At about 11:00 the picket wound down. For one thing, anyone who was going to cross the line today had by that time already done so; and for another, there was going to be a rally in Queen's Square in town at 11:30. So I took myself off to town to see if I could get a haircut (something I wish I'd done before, given what I look like in that picture) and do a little light shopping.

This I managed to do (hello to Nicholas at The Barber's Pole in King Street - top man!), and joined the rally at about 11:40. It wasn't a bad turnout for a town rightly renowned as Europe's Permanent Capital Of Apathy - about 150, I'd estimate - and we listened to brief speeches from representatives of all the unions involved (including one delightfully excitable Scotsman whose repeated response to the catalogue of political deceit we were facing was a loud cry of, "Shame on them! SHAME ON THEM!!").

What we also got was a bit of stick from one or two of the market traders who have been used to having Queen's Square to themselves on a Thursday whining about how we were disrupting their business. I hope someone pointed out to them that having an increasing number of people with less money to spend because their pensions have been shafted really would disrupt the even tenor of their days.

Rally over, I made my way to Jones' chippy on St George's Crescent again and ate my fish and small portion on the same piece of wall as I had three weeks ago. Then it was a little more shopping and home by 14:00.