Socialist Worker

Workers strike at London Met as second union votes for walkouts

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2455

Strikers on the picket line at London Met last week

Strikers on the picket line at London Met last week (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Workers at London Metropolitan University struck on Thursday of last week against plans to axe 165 jobs. 

The striking UCU union members are defending education.

Law teacher Seidu told Socialist Worker, “Bosses want a university that’s all about efficiency and prestige. But we want a university that’s about education and students.”

Striker Rob said, “We have the highest number of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) students of any university in the country.

“London Met stands for widening participation—and the Tories have no time for that.”

Another striker, Christina, added, “A lot of our students come from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

“They need a lot of time and resources. Cutting 165 jobs won’t give them more time.”

Students and Unison union members joined pickets. 

Student Katherine said, “We’ve got to show management we will take them on.”

Voted

Unison union members at the university last week voted by 78 percent to strike to defend jobs and by 86 percent to back action short of a strike. 

The turnout was 36 percent.

Max Watson is secretary of Unison at London Met. 

He told Socialist Worker, “The cuts will hit IT, the international office and recruitment. This threatens the entire existence of the university.”

The vice chancellor has said bosses should focus on “managing out” workers who are “actively disengaged”. Some strikers wore badges declaring “actively disengaged” in response. 

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt and UCU president Liz Lawrence visited pickets. 

Liz Lawrence told Socialist Worker, “This is about defending access to education and widening access.

“The UCU wants no cuts and we can win.”

UCU members overwhelmingly supported escalating strikes at a recent branch meeting. 

As striker David put it, “We need to keep the pressure on. We hope to strike with Unison members. 

“And if we could coordinate strikes with other colleges that would be great.”

Go to #HandsOffLondonMet Strike Action day on Facebook

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Article information

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Tue 26 May 2015, 16:01 BST
Issue No. 2455
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