Workers and students at London Metropolitan University were cheered by the news of vice-chancellor Brian Roper’s resignation last week. But they were also clear that the fight to save jobs at the university is far from over.
The university is facing huge cuts that could slash up to a quarter of the entire workforce.
These cuts would hit hourly paid lecturers and casual workers hardest and have a devastating impact on students.
The UCU and Unison unions held joint union meetings last week, as well as a lively lobby of London Met governors.
These followed the revelation that the university has millions of pounds in the bank – despite claiming that it is facing a “financial crisis”.
Sarah is a fine art student who joined the lobby. She told Socialist Worker, “We’re concerned that there won’t be a university to come back to after the summer break.”
There is a growing mood among workers for action.
One lecturer said, “There was a lot of anger at our union meeting, and frustration that there hasn’t been more talk of industrial action.
“People feel that management is just using the consultation to waste time.”
Amanda Sackur, the chair of the co-ordinating committee of the UCU union, added, “People are very angry about the lack of information from management. There are a lot of demands for action – I think that we will have to take some form of industrial action.”
The unions are in dispute over the proposals and are now in a 90-day consultation with management, which is due to end on 20 May.
If management pushes ahead with redundancies after this, workers will be in a weaker position to fight them as they will be entering the exam period and moving towards the summer break.
Roper’s resignation has weakened management’s position and there is a clear mood to fight the cuts. Union activists have to turn that mood into action that can win.
For more information go to » www.lmuucu.org.uk