Lecturers at the London Metropolitan University struck today across campuses in north and east London against job cuts that will destroy the university if carried through.
Management have threatened to cut between 500 and 700 jobs across both teaching and admin staff. The lecturers, members of the UCU union, held strong picket lines across the multi-campus university.
At Calcutta House in east London, a dozen pickets petitioned and leafleted passers-by, as well as students who were attending assessments after being given clearance from the union.
Amanda Sackur, chair of London Met UCU, told Socialist Worker, “People are really angry about what management are trying to do. But we have been encouraged by the victories of Visteon workers and at Doncaster college.
“This is a really united campaign between staff and students against management. Management are trying to use all sorts of methods to scare or demoralise us, like 100 percent deduction of a day’s wages if anyone is part of action short of a strike. But we’re taking a hard line too!”
The cuts at the university will mean courses will be forced to go part-time, move campuses and the standard of teaching will slide.
Some 150 London Met students held a meeting on Tuesday of this week to discuss the campaign, threats to their course and supporting the lecturers in their fight against job cuts.
Finn is a second year student, studying the craft and creation of musical instruments. He told Socialist Worker, “On our course, people can specialise in four different areas, which needs really specialised teaching. But management want to teach all four subjects as one course. This will mean people aren’t ready for the trade they want to follow when they graduate as they won’t have the right skills.
“The wages for some people in management are huge and could pay for ten technicians. Yet it’s the technicians that are losing their jobs. We want to show management that the students will stand with our teachers and fight these cuts.”
Around 150 pickets and students gathered outside the management building at Holloway Road at 1pm today to hold a protest and listen to a rally. Local trade unionists, MPs George Galloway and Jeremy Corbyn, and Visteon workers who had come to show their solidarity and support for the strike addressed the workers.
Hugh Lanning, the deputy general secretary of the PCS civil service workers’ union, addressed the crowd. He said, “It’s never the top colleges that get these cuts. They always try and go for the things that serve ordinary people.
“The government claims there’s no money for us, but if they cut ID cards, and stopped spending money on Trident nuclear power then we’d be able to afford these things.”
The fight against the cuts continues, with the march for jobs and education for all on Saturday 23 May in London.