Management at London Metropolitan University last week presented stunned union reps with a detailed list of all university departments and jobs they wanted to cut.
Bosses are supposed to be in “consultation” with unions over planned job losses, but it is clear that they have already decided which workers they want to axe.
They say they want to cut 550 full-time equivalent posts which could amount to up to 900 jobs being slashed – a staggering quarter of the workforce.
They say they are making the cuts because of a “financial crisis”. The estimated “saving” made by the proposed job cuts is £27.5 million.
Yet, financially, there is no reason to cut even one job.
Around £25 million is sitting in London Met’s accounts from the recently completed sale of a student hall of residence.
It has received an extra £3.5 million in Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) funding has a further £4.7 million sitting in the bank as an “operating surplus”.
Management predicts the loss of 220 jobs – worth £11 million – through natural wastage over the next year.
Meanwhile, the university can afford more managers! London Met is advertising four faculty and departmental business manager posts.
The salary for each post is between £57,231 and £69,951, plus performance related pay of up to 10 percent of this salary.
Activists suspect that the real reason for the attack is to undermine union organisation and to reshape the nature of education at the university.
Students at London Met are drawn predominantly from working class backgrounds.
The proposed cuts represent a serious attack on the right of working class people to an education, and they come at the same time as young people are facing high levels of unemployment and rising tuition fees.
Management are clearly trying to divide workers along department lines and scare them into accepting the cuts.
But their tactics are fuelling anger.
There is an urgent need to translate this anger into action to give workers the confidence that they can fight the cuts.
There are joint UCU and Unison union meetings at both campuses this week to discuss the latest revelations and the campaign against the cuts.
Activists were planning to lobby a governors’ meeting on Wednesday of this week.
For more information on the campaign go to » www.savelondonmetuni.blogspot.com
There is an ongoing battle to save the school of health and social care at Reading university, after management announced plans to axe it.
A university senate meeting did not have a majority vote for closing the department last week.
Workers and students held a lively protest outside and are planning further action this week.
Over 300 jobs could be axed at Doncaster college in south Yorkshire.
Lecturers are threatening strike action to oppose compulsory redundancies.