Lecturers at London Metropolitan University (LMU) started a five day strike on Monday of this week — the longest strike in higher education in recent years.
The members of the Natfhe union are protesting against the imposition of a contract without negotiation.
Strikers demonstrated on Monday outside LMU’s Tower Hill site in east London wearing gags and carrying placards reading “no contract, no voice”.
Another demonstration was due to take place at the university’s Holloway Road site on Tuesday. Lecturers are also boycotting quality assurance procedures, student assessment, exam invigilation and open evenings.
LMU was formed by the merger of London Guildhall University and the University of North London (UNL). It is the largest university in London, and one of the largest in Britain.
The dispute was sparked in April of last year when LMU management unilaterally imposed inferior UNL contracts on 387 former Guildhall staff. The UNL contracts were themselves imposed on staff after a lockout in 1999.
“We tried talks and Acas negotiations — at every point along that fairly tedious process, management refused to deliver anything whatsoever,” says Cliff Snaith, Natfhe branch secretary at LMU’s North campus.
The Natfhe and AUT lecturers’ unions have jointly rejected a pay offer of 5 percent over two years. The unions are calling for 11.2 percent across the board.