Socialist Worker

Anger as minister makes U-turn on London Met job cuts inquiry

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2153

Campaigners defending jobs at London Metropolitan University are furious after the government reneged on its promise to hold an independent inquiry into the university’s finances.

David Lammy, the higher education minister, took part in a debate in the House of Commons on university funding on Wednesday of last week.

At the end of the debate Lammy promised, “There will, of course, be an independent inquiry, and an inquiry by the National Audit Office into the financial arrangements for universities, which will have particular regard to the London Met situation.”

It took just two days for the government to run away from this pledge.

The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills announced on Friday of last week that there would be no new independent inquiry.

Ongoing

It claimed that Lammy had been referring to an ongoing inquiry by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce).

Diane Abbott MP has accused Lammy of “misleading” parliament, as has the UCU lecturers’ union.

Jeremy Corbyn MP, speaking at the march to defend jobs at London Met and Archway Tower last Saturday, said, “The promise of an independent inquiry is in Hansard.

“If they try and backtrack we will demand that they come to parliament to explain themselves.”

Bosses at London Met say that the financial crisis at the university means they have to cut jobs. But it has been revealed that the university has millions in the bank.

Meanwhile the fight to save jobs at London Met continues.

The Unison union is set to begin a ballot for industrial action on Friday of this week.

Max, a Unison member at London Met, said that management were acting like “asset strippers” and blamed the bosses’ love of the private sector for the proposed cuts.

UCU members struck for one day earlier this month. They hope to be striking again alongside Unison if workers vote for action.

Strike

Mark Campbell, a UCU member at London Met, said, “As soon as Unison are out on strike, we will be out on strike too and we will shut the university down.

“If students occupy again against the cuts we’ll support them – we are united to show management that London Met is our university, not theirs.”

For more information, or to download a letter to send to David Lammy demanding an independent inquiry, go to » savelondonmetuni.blogspot.com


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Tue 26 May 2009, 18:19 BST
Issue No. 2153
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