UCU union members at London Metropolitan University in north London have voted by two to one for strikes.
The ballot asked whether workers would take action to reinstate their union reps, resist compulsory redundancies and defend conditions.
London Met bosses are on the warpath. They have imposed compulsory redundancy on two UCU reps, Mark Campbell and David Hardman. They have also announced plans for 395 more redundancies.
Mark told Socialist Worker, “I’m pleased to see that London Met workers have voted for strikes. Despite the intimidation they have faced, they have shown they are willing to stand up and fight.”
Some 63 percent backed strikes in the ballot. It stated that, in the event of a yes vote, the local UCU committee would request the national union to initiate strikes beginning on Thursday 29 September.
The branch also has its AGM next week where workers will discuss further action and the possible greylisting, or boycott, of London Met. Workers have said they want the union to initiate a greylist—boycott—if bosses refuse to back down.
The battle at London Met isn’t just about two reps or one workplace. There is potential to build a wider campaign.
Workers at London Met think that bosses are rushing through attacks to soften it up for privatisation. The Tories’ Higher Education White Paper includes changes that make it easier for private firms to take over and set up universities.
Richard Payne has worked at London Met for 12 years. He told Socialist Worker, “We feel like laboratory rats that are being experimented on.”
The battle at London Met isn’t just about two reps or one workplace. It will have implications for workers across higher education and for trade unionists in general. There is potential to build a wider campaign.
Mark added that shadow chancellor John McDonnell has pledged his “full support” for workers if they voted for strikes. Workers elsewhere should urgently send messages of support and raise solidarity for those at London Met.