Socialist Worker

United strike can save London Met university

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2258

Strikers and their supporters at London Met  (Pic: Terry McGrath)

Strikers and their supporters at London Met (Pic: Terry McGrath)


A united strike shook London Metropolitan University bosses on Wednesday of last week.

Unison and UCU union members struck together—and won solid support from students.

London Met’s vice chancellor, Malcolm Gillies, wants to ram through 70 percent cuts.

This is despite the fact that the university teaches more black students than all the elite Russell Group universities put together. But there’s a real determination to stop him.

Claire Locke, president-elect of the student union at London Met, told Socialist Worker that the cuts were “not logical but ideological”.

Redundant

Alasdair Smith is a lecturer at London Met, but will be made redundant this week. “I’ll be unemployed for the first time in 30 years,” he told Socialist Worker.

“I applied for a job in a hospital to teach sick kids—160 people applied for it.

“It’s like Greece. It’s bad now—imagine what it will be like in a few years’ time.”

Eddie Rowley, a Unison union steward, told Socialist Worker that the cuts would transform the nature of education, “This will create a university that’s a business school.

“But humanities should be for everyone—not just the rich.”

Another Unison member said bosses were “ripping the heart out” of the college.

“I’m glad lots more people will strike on 30 June,” he added. “It’s what we need.”

The mood was confident. Strikers chanted, “Gillies, Gillies, Gillies—out, out, out!”

Workers and students from other colleges came to support the strike.

Harry Stephens, a Unison rep at the School of Oriental and African Studies, told Socialist Worker, “I’m here to show solidarity.

“We are all facing the same struggle. London Met is a working class institution and I think it’s been made an example of.”

Stand

And Ben, a student from Camden, told Socialist Worker, “If we can show here that we won’t stand for it, it will give a confidence boost to everyone.

“People will say, ‘Look what we did at London Met. We can stop cuts.’”

Jeremy Corbyn MP and Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS union, spoke at the strike rally. Serwotka told strikers that what they had done was “inspirational”.

Mark Campbell, chair of London Met UCU, won some of the loudest applause. He said, “We will fight for every job.

“This university belongs to students, staff and the community—not managers or David Cameron.

“We stand together, we strike together, we occupy together and we will win together.”


London South Bank university

Lecturers at London South Bank university were due to strike on Wednesday and Thursday this week over national bargaining and pay. Send messages of support to buddan@lsbu.ac.uk


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News
Tue 28 Jun 2011, 17:57 BST
Issue No. 2258
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