"I'm so angry I made a sign" "Protest signs are an ineffectual way of commenting on nuanced views on issues that cannot + should not be reduced to simple pithy slogans" "A lot of things are actually going pretty well" Not shown: "My arms are tired" "Down with this sort of thing".
Working at The Institute is full of novel experiences for me. Mastering Excel; dealing with bereaved students; avoiding destructive personalities; having tea without milk; driving a car to work. My Union, the TUI, is bringing us all [N=4000 IT sector teachers] out on a one-day strike today. This fact was invisible on the state broadcaster RTE last night. Although the Irish Times was gracious enough to give voice to the TUI President yesterday morning. It's hard to see from that piece what the government is specifically being asked to do about the unhappiness of the TUI and its members. The train-drivers of Ireland are also in the mood for fight but a) they seem to get better press coverage b) as the strike date looms their leaders are sat down at a negotiating table trying to thrash out a deal.
I've never been of strike before - I've lived a very sheltered life: I was never a miner or a garment-worker or a stevedore. I've been assigned a two hour slot to picket outside the front gate of The Institute and I'm happy to see that some pals of mine are on the same gig, so we can have a natter. That's pretty wet as well, isn't it, if we were really committed we'd sacrifice the whole day, preferrably in a blizzard. An extended lunch-break outside the gates doesn't really indicate a frightening amount of bottle. The other Unions on campus have instructed their members to pass the pickets because current labour-law in Ireland treats sympathetic action as absenteeism and will a) lose a day's pay b) maybe lose your job. So I expect that picketing will be all mouth and no trousers. I - will - not - chant - "Give me a T; give me a U; give me an I - what's that spell?" Then again, I promise not to hold up a sign that says "I'm only here for the violence", I get quite enough passive-aggressive inside the gates.