This is a May Day like no other!
It is ironic also that this Day of recognition of the rights of workers will coincide with government having to make major decisions on the need to continue the ‘lockdown’ in our economy and society - with all the consequences of ongoing threats to jobs and livelihoods.
For weeks now our entire method of working has been distorted and impacted.
For those of us, lucky enough, we have had to struggle to adapt and develop new online methods to teach, communicate and organise.
But many of our colleagues face the much greater uncertainty of temporary contracts ending with no clarity on what even the immediate future holds.
This is a problem throughout our economy and society.
But it is specifically an issue in universities that IFUT is acutely aware of and seeking to address.
We are now seeking to urgently address the medium-term question of how we can return in safety to teach, how jobs can be protected, how the ‘always on’ pressure of online academia will affect working conditions and, overall, how the very fabric of university communities can be protected to provide for staff and students alike.
On this May Day many of us as a result of Covid-19 are also mourning the passing of loved ones, have suffered illness or are worried about the future health and safety of our families.
It is indeed a May Day like no other.
But this moment and crisis will pass and for now I want to wish you all a Happy May Day, with the hope of looking forward to a future where things can be like they were in the best of the past:
To quote from the poem ‘Love’ by poet Eavan Boland, who passed away so suddenly in the past week:
“Dark falls on this mid-western town where we once lived when myths collided.
Dusk has hidden the bridge in the river which slides and deepens to become the water
the hero crossed on his way to hell.
And yet I want to return to you on the bridge of the Iowa river as you were….”
All at IFUT Head Office
May Day Greeting