Socialist Worker

Jobs fight at London Metropolitan university

Issue No. 2137

Students and workers protest at London Metropolitan university on Wednesday of last week (Pic: Andy Strouthous)

Students and workers protest at London Metropolitan university on Wednesday of last week (Pic: Andy Strouthous)

Members of the UCU and Unison unions at London Metropolitan university are fighting attacks on their jobs.

The teaching budget at the university has been cut by £18 million, and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) is demanding another £38 million for previous “over-payments”.

Management are now determined to make staff and students pay for this crisis by slashing at least 330 jobs and closing courses.

However, workers and students are equally determined to resist these attacks. Around 300 people took part in a lobby of the university governors meeting on Wednesday of last week.

One UCU member told Socialist Worker, “The lobby was fantastic because the students had decided, off their own back, to organise their own campaign and they came to join us.

“We will continue to resist the cuts by putting pressure on management, the governors, and ultimately the government.”

Workers are angry that there has been no consultation with unions about the plans.

The cuts would undermine access to higher education and threaten the future of the university itself.

The unions are demanding an investigation into why the financial crisis has arisen and that there are no redundancies.

A joint UCU/Unison petition (see » has been signed by almost 2,000 people since its launch last week, and local MP Jeremy Corbyn has initiated a Parliamentary Early Day Motion in defence of London Met workers.

Alongside the attacks on jobs, the chair of the UCU union at London Met, Amanda Sackur, is being victimised by university management.

In her capacity as a member of the UCU executive, Amanda spoke at a rally for lecturers involved in a union recognition dispute at Nottingham Trent university in November last year.

Despite not missing any classes or meetings by attending the protest, management subsequently told Amanda that she would be investigated for “unauthorised absence”.

The UCU believes that behind the attack on Amanda lies an attempt to prevent union reps from defending their members.

A hearing is due later this month.

So far over 900 people have signed a petition demanding that all disciplinary charges be dropped.

Go to » to sign the petition and for updates on both campaigns

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Tue 3 Feb 2009, 18:26 GMT
Issue No. 2137
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