Management at London Metropolitan University have conceded an improved contract for lecturers after a 15 month long dispute.
Members of the Natfhe lecturers union struck many times in the course of the battle, including a one week strike in May, and took ten weeks of action short of striking.
This has been the longest and one of the bitterest disputes in higher education history.
Management had sought to impose a non-negotiated contract under threat of dismissal in April 2004 and refused point blank to negotiate with us.
We have now managed to re-establish collective bargaining.
The new contract is not brilliant, but it brings London Met back into line with the national contract for universities that were polytechnics before 1992.
It is a substantial improvement on what management tried to unilaterally impose. As important is the recognition that any changes to conditions of employment have to be negotiated with Natfhe.
The fly in the ointment is management’s attempt at making retrospective deductions for “partial performance”.
We are demanding no deductions and there will be a second question on the ballot paper asking members to support that position and if necessary take appropriate action.
We have also pushed Natfhe nationally to institute a national levy to help our members.