Two leading trade union activists at London Metropolitan University were last week told that they will be made redundant. The move against UCU union branch chair Mark Campbell and branch secretary David Hardman is a serious attack on the union.
Bosses are also targeting other union activists for redundancy. Workers immediately began to organise against the attack as messages of solidarity poured in.
David Hardman told Socialist Worker, “This is happening because we have challenged them publicly –and they don’t like being challenged publicly.
“They see us as high profile individuals that they want to get rid of, but it’s not just Mark and myself. Several of our colleagues who have been outspoken are being made redundant.
“We’re an extreme example of what’s happening across the sector. It’s all part of the green paper which is about spending less on staff, bringing in private providers and ultimately privatisation.”
Mark Campbell told Socialist Worker, “We hope to have a branch activists’ meeting this week. This is an attack on the union and there needs to be a national response. We need to stop the sackings.”
Richard Payne is UCU treasurer at London Met. “It’s absolutely essential that we defend these positions,” he told Socialist Worker.
“We recently lost Max Watson, a Unison union activist who fought redundancies and outsourcing. We need solidarity from the trade union movement.”
UCU activist at London Met Christina Paine added, “This campaign has got to broaden out to defend core members of staff and effectively education. That’s what’s at stake here.”
Mark denounced it as “an attempt to victimise active trade unionists and intimidate other staff”. He said, “We have a duty to fight to defend our members and the interests of our students. We will continue to do so as loudly as we possibly can.”
If bosses get away with their attack, it will have serious implications for London Met students. Workers plan to launch a petition against the sackings and are appealing for people to take selfie photos with a solidarity message.
Richard said bosses have already made huge cuts at London Met. “They want to cut the remaining staff by another 25 percent,” he said. “It’s an extraordinary figure.
“It’s not surprising that they want to get rid of two key union activists. They represent an obstacle in their way to cutting staff.”
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