I went along to the rally yesterday, and also talked to my mum about it at the end of the day. She forwarded me a letter which the NUS have put together for students, explaining some of why they are backing the strike. I've turned it from word doc into rough HTML and you can find it here:
I know some people still think that given the average salary of academics appears to be somewhere around 35K (not the > 40K claimed by the UCEA) we're being greedy in asking for more. Consider however that in many cases these academics could be earning more as doctors, lawyers and even in some cases as teachers. Perhaps that's not enough reason. I can't seem to manage to express any better why I think this pay claim *is* reasonable, and I admit I find it very frustrating to be so bad at arguing my point.
I'm kind of sad how small a proportion of the staff in Cambridge are members of AUT though, and how small a rally can be and still be an excellent turnout. I'm glad I showed my support though. And I'll be self-reporting as being on action short of a strike even if they do say they'll dock full days pay for it, despite the fact it make no difference to my work in practice.
My mum also forwarded me the letter which their vice-chancellor sent to all staff about the strike and the consequences with respect to pay. I have to say it's a complete eye-opener when you see how much more reasonable it is than the similar letter I received in Cambridge.