Thursday, 30 April 2009

UCU ballot 'overwhelmingly' favours action (THES)

Lecturers at London Metropolitan University have voted in favour of strike action and “action short of a strike”, the University and College Union has announced.

The UCU said members had voted “overwhelmingly” for action in response to the threat to 550 jobs, which it said would put a quarter of the workforce at risk.

The threatened cuts are a result of the claw back of funding faced by London Met following its inaccurate reporting of student completion rates.

Of those who took part in the UCU ballot, 64 percent voted for strike action and 71 percent for action short of a strike.
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Defend Education Defend Our Jobs

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Petition to save Tower Hill Nursery and Hornsey Road Nursery

To: Whom It May Concern,

On behalf of Tower Hill* Nursery and Hornsey Road Nursery, we (signed below) are petitioning against the decision to close the aforementioned nurseries. We are aware of the financial situation our university is in, but we are appalled that student-parent welfare should be sacrificed to such an extent. Student Services should aim to provide for students in need of extra support. Instead, withdrawal of childcare could mean:

  • Extra strain for parents who are already under a lot of pressure balancing family responsibilities, degree work and other types of financial work.
  • More financial difficulties and travel related inconveniences for student-parents.
  • Discouragement for student parents due to limited facilities in accessing higher education. Whatever happened to equal opportunities?
  • Dedicated members of staff who have been working for LMU nurseries for as long as 13 years can be made redundant as from next month.

We are concerned how the points above have managed to be overlooked. Studying while bringing up children should be self-enhancing, not disabling.

UPDATE: Sign this petition online (before 10th March, 2010) here:

Download the petition to print and get signatures from here:

*Tower Hill Nursery was closed in Summer 2009, so this petition now only applies to Hornsey Road.
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Nearly one third of London Met's class of 2006 failed to complete (THES)

30 April 2009
By Melanie Newman

Almost one in three of London Metropolitan University's full-time undergraduates taking modular courses did not complete their courses in 2005-06, Times Higher Education can reveal.

Of these, a significant proportion earned less than half the course credits that would normally be expected of them in a year.

The figures are key because London Met faces having to return overpayments of millions of pounds to the Higher Education Funding Council for England after under-reporting the number of non-completions for several years.

A member of staff at the university said the figures, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, seem to put paid to the idea that London Met is suffering as a result of confusion over the definition of non-completing students, and that most of the non-completions it failed to report were marginal cases.

Of the 11,263 full-time undergraduates on modular courses at London Met in 2005-06, 3,388 quit before completing. While a full-time student would normally be expected to gain 120 credits in a year, 1,483 students completed less than half that amount, and 803 earned fewer than 30 credits, which equates to just two modules.

In addition, 1,099 part-time undergraduates - a quarter of the total number at London Met - failed to complete a single 15-credit module.

Hefce plans to claw back a sum forecast to be more than £36 million paid to the university between 2005 and 2008 and has cut London Met's grant for 2008-09 by £15 million.

Hefce's FoI officer said: "Our audit work examined 2005-06 data ... it is that year in particular that has resulted in the subsequent funding adjustments for the period 2005-06 to 2007-08, and ... for future years."

Several universities have had to return money to Hefce after misinterpreting its rules governing which students count as non-completions and do not qualify for funding. However, the scale of the clawback at London Met is unprecedented.

The degree of discrepancy between Hefce's figures and London Met's data returns is the subject of a further FoI request.

The member of staff at London Met, who asked not to be named, said: "The university's case against Hefce relied implicitly on the illustration of non-complete students completing most of their modules and still not receiving funding. These figures suggest that this was not the case. Most of (those) students were not serious students."

Of the 2005-06 non-completing full-time students, only 555 completed more than 105 credits.

A London Met spokeswoman said: "Non-completing students, in accordance with the Hefce definition, are those who do not take the final assessment for all the modules for which they are registered in the year of study ... The figures show that the majority (1,805) of 'non-completing' (modular) students accumulated more than half of the required credits.

"We're surprised that a member of our own staff should claim that our students were not serious."

But Barry Jones, assistant general secretary for London North at the University and College Union, said the figures were "inconsistent with the messages coming from the management of London Met".

He said: "UCU appears to have been misled. Since management has so far failed publicly to acknowledge its responsibility for this situation, we believe that an independent inquiry would be appropriate."

A ballot on industrial action by the university's UCU branch closed on 29 April.

Story update, 30 April:

Lecturers at London Metropolitan University have voted in favour of strike action and “action short of a strike”, the University and College Union has announced.

The UCU said members had voted “overwhelmingly” for action in response to the threat to 550 jobs, which it said would put a quarter of the workforce at risk.

The threatened cuts are a result of the claw back of funding faced by London Met following its inaccurate reporting of student completion rates.
Of those who took part in the UCU ballot, 64 percent voted for strike action and 71 percent for action short of a strike.

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Wednesday, 29 April 2009

ACT NOW! LabourStart solidarity message

LabourStart, 'Where trade unionists start their day on the net', have today launched a campaign to help Save London Met through their website. To send a message of protest to London Met management, follow this link. Please then send this on to all of your contacts. Let's show the temporary LMU management that the world is watching them and that we're not alone. Text below:

Act NOW!
Stop job cuts at London Metropolitan University

This is a campaign to Save London Metropolitan University. The threatened job cuts (550 Full Times Equivalent posts); the continued outsourcing and privatisation of in-house services; the closure of key libraries and popular courses; the attacks on union reps, and management's refusal to enter meaningful negotiations; all of the above will mean the beginning of the end of London Met Uni (LMU).
To email the following message to the current interim managers (which you can alter), simply follow this link:

Dear Acting Vice Chancellor and Head of Human Resources,

We are saddened to learn that London Metropolitan University is in crisis and you intend to make large-scale redundancies which will no doubt make things worse. We gather the crisis is entirely of your own making and not
a result of the recession.

Plans to axe up to 550 full time equivalent posts were set out by your last Vice Chancellor, Brian Roper, who has since resigned without explanation.

We call on you as temporary managers to halt plans to make such damaging cuts to the staff and reverse the policy of aggression towards your unions.

We believe that the untested, controversial changes of the scale that you have outlined – including the outsourcing of IT services, increased workloads for teaching, increasing student to staff ratios, the closure of critical educational facilities such as libraries and entire courses – these plans are a recipe for disaster and should not be rushed through by an interim management team.

Indeed, we would like to know: who exactly will take responsibility for the financial crisis at your institution? We note that, despite leaving, Brian Roper did not take responsibility for the current crisis and we
further suggest the current team of interim managers might also shoulder some of the blame.

We support the calls of Jeremy Corbyn MP for a public enquiry into how this all came about.

Whoever is culpable for the current mess, it is certainly not the staff nor the students who are currently being told to pay the price.

We call on you to halt the current plans to cut jobs and outsource, and to start listening seriously to your staff rather than constantly attacking their democratically elected union representatives.

Yours sincerely,

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Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Can Star Wars save job cuts at London Met? (THES)

28 April 2009
By Rebecca Attwood

Campaigning staff at London Metropolitan University have turned to “the Force” for help in fighting hundreds of job cuts at their institution.

A spoof scene from Star Wars has been posted on YouTube, in which Princess Leia has been transformed into a helpless member of staff from London Met.

In the original scene, the princess asks for assistance in resisting the evil Empire, but in the doctored clip, her voice has been dubbed over.

She explains the financial difficulties facing the university to Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker, and issues a plea for their support.

“Years ago, I got a job at London Met University,” the voiceover says. “The people I work with are great… Now [the management] want to make 550 redundancies… They plan to outsource our IT department, close libraries and dozens of courses.

“It is a recipe for disaster. The unions are doing all they can to stop the cuts, but management just ignore our protests and we need more support. Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi – you are our only hope.”

The Higher Education Funding Council for England has reduced London Met’s grant for 2008-09 by £15 million, and may claw back a further £38 million. It says London Met has been overpaid because the university submitted incorrect data returns on its student numbers.

In February, the university’s vice-chancellor, who has since stepped down, proposed cutting up to 550 full-time equivalent posts by July 2010.

The university’s University and College Union branch is balloting members on whether to take industrial action.

View the YouTube video here

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Sunday, 26 April 2009

UNISON Update: A Final Warning

Dear members,

We are committed to representing our members’ interests, so we’ve been attending meetings with senior management to explain patiently some of our key concerns about their proposals. We believe their plans as they are currently put forward amount to the longest suicide note in the history of modern universities.

When management threatened so many job cuts, we wanted an assurance that there would be no compulsories. Management have failed to give us that promise, only a vague ‘intention’; yet once again threatened forced redundancies again last week, trying to bully staff into jumping ship

We’ve therefore demanded that if anyone’s job that is seriously threatened, they ought to be given a first priority when applying for voluntary. Yet management are unable to even understand how this logic works, let alone able to commit to this common sense proposal. Instead management want to go ahead with a scheme that could see well over 700 random job cuts.

We’ve also asked for a commitment that anyone applying for voluntary but is refused will not then be made redundant. Once again, management refuse despite claiming in departmental meetings that there is enough in the budget to cover all of the proposed cuts with a VR scheme. We believe this whole so-called voluntary scheme is a sham.

None of the Departmental plans where there is an intention to totally and or partially cut/outsource or rationalise services, do not have any impact assessment (Financial/Operational/Strategy/Workloads/Students) built into those plans. If they want staff and the trade unions to put forward alternative proposed, then they need to demonstrate and have just cause to the ideas they have put forward.

Basic manners
We’ve also explained the need for full and meaningful consultation with staff and trades unions. In response, management have called meetings during people’s holidays, when they’re teaching or with extremely short notice following the release of the proposals. Some of our members were
away when the proposals came out, and have returned from holiday having completely missed the meetings.

We’ve demanded that if staff members are not given enough time to meet with their elected union reps or have them present to represent them then those meetings have to be rescheduled. Management have not been able to commit to this very simple common courtesy.

It has become clear that some departmental managers are incapable of listening to the genuine worries of their staff. The cuts in budgets were known for almost a year, and yet only reluctantly and at the last minute they now meet to ‘consult’ their staff. The ACAS Code of Practice says that they should have been in serious talks with the unions from day one – back in June last year.

We’ve made it clear from the start that we utterly reject any outsourcing of our services. From the beginning we’ve outlined our concerns. The plan to outsource large sections of the ISS department beggars belief. We’ve since demanded to see the rationale for such a bloodbath in jobs – and to see the evidence such a scheme could possibly work. Amazingly, the Head of
Department has said that they were working on “the assumption” that it would be a cost-saving exercise. We don’t want assumptions, we want evidence. We’ve asked several times to see examples of a successfully outsourced university IT or AV department, and they’ve repeatedly failed to provide a single one.

UNISON organising meetings
We’ve been having meetings of our own to talk to union members without management about their proposals, and we’re currently looking in depth at all of the proposals to find ways to minimise the damage. We’ve already found ways to save money without job losses and found gaping holes in management’s plans which often reveal a complete lack of understanding of
how the University works.

If you want to set up your own departmental UNISON members meeting, then go ahead: set one up with your local rep, book a room and a time and someone from the exec or a full time official will be there to support you. The union is its members, so get involved – and be honest about what you think of the campaign strategy so far. Unlike management, we’re not
afraid of criticism or hearing how things could be done better. This is after all your union, so make your voice heard.

As well as developing a better plan of how some departments could operate, we are also building our branch in terms of new members and new activists: we’ve new people coming onto the exec, and new local reps who are getting involved. There are several people going on training for new reps this term, so don’t feel you have to have loads of experience to step forward.

If you feel angry or frustrated at the way you've been treated by the current executive group of managers and you know that the union needs your involvement, get in touch.

Show some respect
We’ve made it clear to management that we’re tired of having our time wasted by their incompetence and lack of respect. We expect to be balloting for industrial action unless they seriously consider the way they are treating our staff and their democratically elected reps. We have sent them a final warning in the form of the letter attached.

It should also be noted that there are many forms of industrial action and that our branch is prepared to consider all means at our disposal to make them take us seriously.

Furthermore, we send out a message of solidarity to our colleagues in the teaching union, the University and Colleges Union (UCU), who share our frustrations with management and to make clear we fully support their decision to ballot their members at this time.

We also want to send out a message to the Board of Governors and incoming Vice Chancellor: the staff here at London Met deserve better. We refuse to have our members ignored; we expect to be treated with respect, not disdain. We expect people at the top to take responsibility for their
staff, not lie to them and sell them out. There is such a thing as a duty of care and senior management until now have completely failed in their obligations. We are aiming to meet with the new VC as soon as possible to see if we can work together to build afresh. And in the meantime, we aim to hold the current management to account for the fine mess they’ve got us

May the Force be with you…
Finally, for some light relief during this time of doom and gloom… we’ve linked to a video put on Youtube by someone unbeknown to us, called ‘Save London Met Uni Star Wars Video’.
It's on our campaign blog so you can watch it here:

We hope staff and students continue to find imaginative ways to protest and get our message across. Send in ideas for more!

Thanks for all your support during this difficult time. Stick together, and keep in touch.

Allan Pike
Branch Secretary
Max Watson
Assistant Branch Secretary

UNISON Branch Executive

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Friday, 24 April 2009


As the recession bites and unemployment tops 2 million, record numbers want to take up adult education and university courses. So isn’t it irresponsible to slash the number and range of college courses by sacking lecturers and support staff? Isn’t it reckless too, when 100,000 jobs are vanishing a month, to add hundreds more to the tally by relocating civil servants posts outside London?

This is the local picture in Islington and Holloway. Here over 1,500 jobs are in the firing line. Without them, livelihoods will be lost, opportunities will dry up and the area will be afflicted by a spiral of decline.

At City University adult education courses are at risk, at London Metropolitan University scores of courses will vanish with over 550 posts in the sights, while at Archway Tower 500 civil service posts providing benefits to disabled people are jeopardised.

Join us! This march links up those fighting to defend local jobs and opportunities. It brings together university lecturers, support staff, students and civil servants demonstrating against these attacks.

Starting from Highbury close to City University, with its long service to the local community under threat, we pass London Met University in Holloway, where its ‘widening participation’ agenda could become a relic if courses and facilities, such as nurseries close. We rally at Archway Tower, the threatened workplace of hundreds of Civil Service staff.

March with us to say ‘NO’ to this avoidable cull of jobs, ‘NO’ to the narrowing of educational choice and ‘NO’ to the shrinking circle of opportunity.

  • Assemble 11.00 a.m. Saturday May 23rd Highbury Fields, N1.
  • Demonstrate & March
  • from Highbury Fields to rally in Archway Park

Followed by an evening of music & comedy to Defend Adult Education, 7.30pm, the Cross Kings,126 York Way, NI Organised by CALL, (Campaign for Adult Lifelong Learning)

See flier for CALL gig here

Supported by UCU (the University and College Union) London Met UNISON, PCS (Public & Commercial Services Union) Islington National Union of Teachers

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How many universities would survive the Tories? (Guardian Online)

A revealing report by a rightwing thinktank ponders a cull, writes Donald MacLeod

Should universities be allowed to go bust? This provocative question is posed by Policy Exchange, the free-market thinktank linked to the Conservatives, in a world where the possibility of such failure has become frighteningly real.

Sink or Swim? Facing Up to Failing Universities is an interesting report, all the more interesting because if there is any thinking going about what a Tory government would do with universities – and it's hard to find out from David Cameron's tightlipped team – this is probably where it is being done.

So many will read the report with the question "Would a Conservative government let universities go bust?" at the back of their minds. In fact, the report is more about mergers than outright closures – there have been 27 since 1997 with little or no publicity.

As the authors, Anna Fazackerley and Julian Chant admit, the social and economic costs of a major university going under would be so great that a merger would inevitably be the preferred option. (Though how major is major?)

London with an "astonishing" 42 higher education institutions could be ripe for a cull, they suggest. This might take the form of private providers taking over all or part of an institution – you can see how popular Fazackerley, head of education at Policy Exchange, is going to be with the University and College Union.

But it's a sign of what the past year has done to free-market thinking that the report should recommend tougher regulation by the government funding body Hefce to suspend a university's grant and remove senior management if there is evidence of bungling. London Metropolitan's financial difficulties get a special mention as an example of how the current system of oversight has failed.

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Fury as ‘arbitrary’ axe falls on campus staff (Islington Tribune)

Islington Tribune - by TOM FOOT
Published: 24 April 2009

Fury as ‘arbitrary’ axe falls on campus staff

Departments face closure at crisis-hit university

A LIST of academic posts facing the chop at crisis-torn London Metropolitan University has been released to the Tribune.

The document reveals detailed plans to close entire departments and to make redundant lecturers in the humanities, arts, languages and education faculty.

It follows an announcement that 550 full-time posts – one in four of the university’s staff – will be axed at its Holloway and City campuses.

The measures are part of a “90-day rescue package” introduced after more than £38million in government funding was wrongly claimed by the university over three years.

Courses in French, Irish, Caribbean, theatre and women’s studies are facing closure, while professors and lecturers in the education and Spanish departments are singled out in the “staff reduction proposals”.

Journalism, performing arts and creative writing departments will be spared.

One senior lecturer told the Tribune this week: “There does not seem to be any rationale behind keeping particular posts and getting rid of others. It is completely arbitrary.

“People believe some faculties are being targeted out of personal vendettas. There is some really nasty stuff going on and there is a state of huge anxiety in the university.”

London Metropolitan University College Union (UCU) and Unison members voted unanimously to ballot for industrial action after the list was emailed to all staff before Easter.

The results of the ballot will be announced on Wednesday and the strike – which could involve more than 1,000 academics and staff – is expected to take place on May 7.

Barry Jones, regional coordinator for UCU, which represents more than half of the academic staff at London Met, said: “We are balloting for a strike because we are not happy with the way the situation is progressing. Management has initiated a voluntary redundancies scheme, which we do not agree with.”

London Met was thrown into turmoil in January following an audit by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

The government’s funding authority discovered false claims of at least £38million over three years for students who had dropped out before finishing their courses.

Higher education funding is dependent on students completing courses.

London Met said at the time: “This will impact on the university’s cash flow and reduce the cash available to pay ongoing operational costs.

“It is important that cost savings are achieved as soon as possible to preserve the university’s available cash.”

Vice-chancellor Brian Roper quit following a series of protests outside the university in Holloway Road.

The university takes hundreds of students from disadvantaged backgrounds, giving them a chance to study a range of subjects for free.

Islington North Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn has called for the university’s debt to be cancelled to help people from poorer backgrounds find work during the recession.

Higher education minister David Lammy, responding to a question from Mr Corbyn in the House of Commons on Wednesday, said: “London Metropolitan University is exceeding the benchmarks for young people participating from both state schools and colleges and from lower socio-economic backgrounds.”

Lecturers, teachers and students will march from City University in Northampton Square, passing London Met in Holloway Road, and ending with a rally and speeches at Archway Tower, in a demonstration against the cuts on May 23.

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Thursday, 23 April 2009

UCU Ballot Special Newsletter & Some questions to ask managers during 'consultations'

UCU Ballot special:

• Why has this meeting been called at this time (in the middle of teaching when many of the affected staff cannot be present) and at such short notice? What about members of staff who are teaching or otherwise engaged? How will they get a chance to participate in meetings?

• What is the status of this meeting? What is the process for amending the departmental plan? What happens if those changes reduce the need for job losses? Are you allowed to alter the total number of job losses in the department?

• Who was consulted in the drafting of the plan? Academic Committee? Departmental teaching committee? Course leaders? Course teams and staff? Students?

• Can we see your impact assessments for all the equality duties? Have you carried out similar assessments for students? [By law, the University has a positive duty actively to promote equality. Any change, policy or procedure must be subject to a full, written impact assessment to ensure that it complies with the legal duties]

• How will these changes affect University compliance with the DDA [Disability Discrimination Act]? With student support services being cut, will we be expected to pick up the extra work, especially on DDA issues? How is the department going to ensure that we – as individuals and collectively as a department - are not liable in law for any shortcomings in provision?

• Is the plan based on predictions of rising or falling student numbers? Why? [The University has assumed that it will not be allowed to return to our ‘allocated’ student numbers. They can show no evidence that HEFCE intends to penalise us this way. There are indications that demand for education is rising]

• What measures do you intend to take to improve both recruitment and retention of students? How are these measures reflected in the departmental plan?

• Have you considered a commitment to first year teaching (additional contact) for 'at risk' students? How would increased, or better, use of weblearn etc. improve this?

• Have you consulted professional bodies generally and/or re. specialised courses requiring intensive teaching (CPE/LPC/Accountancy etc)?

• What impact will the cuts have on staff-student ratios? How are you calculating staff-student ratios? How will the changes be accommodated? By larger classes? Less contact time for students?

• If people are being made redundant, then it must, by law, be because that work is no longer required. Does this mean that all those modules will not run? What are the implications for next year and the year after? Students are involved in programme-planning now: what if they choose modules that are about to be cut? What about modules that are core to particular courses? Will courses need to be revalidated?

• Where cuts are achieved through non-replacement of staff who leave, who will carry out their work? Are you expecting workloads to increase for those who remain? If so, will this not put the university in breach of contract? If not, how will the work be covered?

• Where you talk about HPLs being ‘deleted’, why are you not counting these as redundancies? Are you going to try to over the work of full-time members of staff with badly-paid HPLs? What will that do to retention and quality?

• Have you considered the impact on widening participation and community-based learning (i.e. moving law away from Ladbroke, cutting Foundation courses, dismissing widening participation staff)?

• Why are post-graduate courses being hit at all given that they are unaffected by HEFCE funding?

• What will be the effect of cuts on international recruitment, particularly re. postgraduate courses? What evidence do you have to support your view?

• Have you considered the knock-on impact on recruitment of deletion of pre-degree courses? What is the evidence?

• What areas of growth could be developed consequent upon the ‘credit crunch’ or recession? Now that unemployment is rising and more people are applying for university what are we doing to attract them to London Met?

• How will the Business School make use of the £400,000 recently granted by DIUS? Does it not affect the departmental plan? Will it be used to save or create jobs (£400,000 = 8 posts)? Will those jobs be ring-fenced for people being redeployed?

• What consideration have you given to those courses that are distinctive, or have a particularly high profile (that form our USP?) Are you offering special protection for these? If not, what calculations have you made of the effect it will have on the department in terms of reputation and recruitment?

• How will this plan affect research? If workloads are set to rise, how can staff maintain their research?

• What will happen to research staff? If research fellows are dismissed or not replaced when they leave what will happen to third stream income?

• How will you decide whose application for voluntary redundancy to back? If someone whose post is not on the list of deletions applies, will you support it? How do you propose to handle the question of ‘bumped’ redundancies?

• When the redundancy policy refers to a pool of posts, how will you decide who to dismiss? Who will decide? How will you ensure that the process is fair?

• How many middle management posts are being cut? How many senior managers are at risk?

• How will the ratio of ‘management’ to ordinary staff be affected by the cuts? What will be the implications of this for FST? For workloads generally? For real staff – student ratios? How do you justify this balance?

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UNISON departmental meeting for Library staff (North)

London Metropolitan University UNISON Branch is holding departmental meetings with our members to discuss alternative proposals to the management’s plans to cut jobs and outsource services. We need your input – come to the meeting to prepare alternatives and plan our response.
Ladbroke House
Wednesday 29th April,
1-2pm, Room LH2-23

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UNISON departmental meeting for Library staff (City)

London Metropolitan University UNISON Branch is holding departmental meetings with our members to discuss alternative proposals to the management’s plans to cut jobs and outsource services. We need your input – come to the meeting to prepare alternatives and plan our response.
Moorgate Library (City Library Staff)
MG407 – 1-2pm
Wed April 22nd

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UNISON departmental meeting for Marketing and Communications staff

London Metropolitan University UNISON Branch is holding departmental meetings with our members to discuss alternative proposals to the management’s plans to cut jobs and outsource services. We need your input – come to the meeting to prepare alternatives and plan our response.

Whitechapel Friday 24th,
1-2pm(Room CM1-14)

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Wednesday, 22 April 2009

A New Hope: 'Save London Met, May the Force be with you!'

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UCU Ballot for Industrial Action

UCU Members,
By now you will all have received your ballot form (at home probably but in the office for a few); if you have not, please contact UCU London Met urgently. Make sure that you post it back as soon as possible because this may be the most important vote London Met has ever faced. What is at stake is a fundamental clash between competing visions for the future of the university.

Management have clearly lost faith in the university’s mission. Instead, they see a future of falling student numbers, declining standards and an ever-increasing culture of control as the university struggles for survival. Over-stretched staff will be remote from students, managing on-line delivery or lecturing to vast halls with a focus on ‘fact’- driven training and achievement of targets. In effect, it will offer a twenty-first century version of Victorian values: rote teaching and rote learning. What is more, it won’t work. This means that there will almost certainly have to be more cuts in the future; even those departments that appear to have got off relatively lightly now may suffer significantly next year or the one after. Some could be hit twice, of course. Computing offers a salutary example here.

Our vision is different. We (UCU, UNISON and the staff generally) remain committed to a university that has at its heart the promotion of intellectual discovery, the stimulation of critical thought and the development of individual talent. We want to see the university successful again. However, this requires recognition that staff members are not enemies to be controlled but partners to be consulted. It requires a concerted effort to develop a recovery plan that encapsulates humane and academic approaches to the crisis. Above all, it requires an understanding of how learning occurs.

This is the choice that faces us now. Because it involves such a fundamental clash of views, the outcome affects us all. Everyone at London Met has a vested interest in our continuing to stand up for our principles. Those of us who will be dismissed if we do not keep fighting need us to combat the brutal and ill-conceived cuts urgently. Those who stay need us to fight in order to have a university to work at. They need us to resist management visions of ever-increasing workloads and micro-management if they are to survive in the new order. Students need us to fight to maintain standards and academic integrity. Those who are wondering about applying for voluntary redundancy need us to fight so that their choice is a genuine one, not a coerced decision.

For this reason, each vote is vital. Please make sure that you vote and encourage your colleagues to do so as soon as possible.

A vote for industrial action strengthens our hand in negotiations with management. A ‘yes’ vote demonstrates our belief in the second approach and our rejection of confrontational managerialism. It is therefore vital that we all have our say in the future of London Met. Management have removed our right to participate in the formal structures of the university: make sure our voice is heard now!

London Met UCU Co-ordinating Committee

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Friday, 17 April 2009

UNISON departmental meeting for Library staff (North)

London Metropolitan University UNISON Branch is holding departmental meetings with our members to discuss alternative proposals to the management’s plans to cut jobs and outsource services. We need your input – come to the meeting to prepare alternatives and plan our response.

Stapleton House (North Library Staff)
Tuesday 21st April, 1-2pm, Room SH3-30

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UNISON departmental meeting for Library staff (City)

London Metropolitan University UNISON Branch is holding departmental meetings with our members to discuss alternative proposals to the management’s plans to cut jobs and outsource services. We need your input – come to the meeting to prepare alternatives and plan our response.

Moorgate Library (City Library Staff)
MG407 – 1-2pm
Wed April 22nd

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UNISON departmental meeting for ISS staff (City Campus)

London Metropolitan University UNISON Branch is holding departmental meetings with our members to discuss alternative proposals to the management’s plans to cut jobs and outsource services. We need your input – come to the meeting to prepare alternatives and plan our response.

Monday 20th April
Calcutta House
Room: CM1-13

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Thursday, 16 April 2009

UCU: Vote 'Yes' for Industrial Action in ballot

To UCU members:

Today or tomorrow you will be receiving a ballot form asking you to vote on whether to take industrial action. This is of critical importance. Please vote as soon as you can and make sure that you post it back in good time.

Although we are saddened to have to do so, we urge you to vote yes to both questions because:

• Management seem determined to make large numbers of redundancies. If anything, the number has increased rather than fallen recently.
• These redundancies are not necessary, certainly not immediately. While it is true that the university finances are in an appalling state, UCU and Unison have identified a number of savings that could be made to avoid redundancies or drastically reduce the number. Management won’t even consider alternative approaches..
• Management displays contempt for the consultation process and for staff. Sending out departmental ‘plans’ at 5.30 on the last day of term was unnecessarily cynical and appeared calculated to leave us all isolated.
• Large-scale job losses will damage the university’s ability to survive and will make life unbearable for staff (and students) who remain
• At a time of uncertainty (our interim administration has yet to be appointed) and with the executive group uncomfortably close to the previous policy that got us into our current mess, now is not the time to steamroller through drastic and ill-planned changes.

A ‘yes’ vote in this ballot will strengthen our negotiators’ hands. Please make sure that you use your vote to help them. If we do not make a stand now, it may well be too late!

Make sure your voice is heard.

  • Vote yes to save jobs.
  • Vote yes to protect our future
  • Vote yes to defend the university

If for any reason you do not receive a ballot form by Friday, please get in touch with Debbie Rees ( or Amanda Sackur (

There will be meetings for all members (rooms to be confirmed):

City campus – Tuesday 21st 12.30 -2pm
North campus – Wednesday 22nd 12.30 - 2pm

Please make every effort to attend.

Best wishes,

UCU Coordinating Committee
Read the full post with comments!

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Socialist Worker Online: Fighting Job Losses at London Met

'The UCU and Unison unions at London Metropolitan University are set to ballot for industrial action against planned job cuts.

The UCU coordinating committee met on Tuesday of last week and unanimously voted to back a ballot for industrial action if management does not back down.

Meanwhile the Unison branch AGM, held on Thursday of last week, resolved unanimously to organise a ballot for industrial action...'

Read the full article
here. You can comment on Socialist Worker Online articles, as you can on our website, but keep in mind our guide on writing letters here. Much more to follow soon.
Read the full post with comments!

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Unions ballot for industrial action over job cuts

The following was released on Friday 3rd April from both unions to all members:

As you know, UNISON and UCU negotiators have been meeting management regularly in an attempt to avoid redundancies. Unfortunately so far, despite some successes, we cannot report much significant progress. The key areas of disagreement remain:

• Budget
• Workloads/Outsourcing
• Timing of voluntary redundancy scheme
• Compulsory redundancies

Click on the link below 'to read full post with comments', to read the rest of this post...

See UNISON resolution for industrial action here.

See detailed statement from both unions here.

Management then confirmed their intent to go ahead with a redundancy scheme without union consent despite being legally bound by a 90 day consultation period in a message to all staff the same day. To summarise, they offered a very short period (two weeks during Easter Holiday period) in which to meet departmental managers. In response, we were asked to give consent to opening a Voluntary Redundancy scheme before the consultation was complete. It should be noted that some managers of departments are currently on leave during this period, making it not only unreasonable to meet with them in such a short period, but indeed it would be impossible. We had no option but to refuse this false offer of 'compromise'.

Click on link below for full post...

As a union we have a duty to protect all our members’ jobs and conditions
of service. We have talked to politicians, to HEFCE, to the wider
community and to management. There is a great deal of support for our
campaign, yet management do not appear to be taking the consultation
process seriously. Indeed, they are still insisting on cutting one in
four jobs.

Now is the time to display our collective resolve.

If there is no significant movement, we need to hold a ballot for
industrial action to strengthen our hand in negotiations.

This will:

• Allow us to tell management what we think of their threats
• Give us a voice in the future of the university
• Help us to work closely with sister unions, colleagues and students
• Ensure that we can take action if management try to implement
compulsory redundancies

We will be holding meetings immediately after Easter. Please make every
effort to attend. If you would like a more detailed statement, please see
the attached document.

Also attached is a copy of the motion that was passed unanimously at
the UNISON AGM yesterday.

A full report back from yesterdays AGM will be provided shortly.

Read the full post with comments!


Islington PCS, LMU UCU, LMU Unison invites you to:


Saturday May 23rd

Assemble: 11:00am, LMU Tower Building, Holloway Road

London Metropolitan University is in the process of trying to cut 550 posts. This is estimated to translate into some 800-900 job losses (around 25% of the current workforce). The cuts will affect both lecturing and administrative staff. If these cuts go ahead it could be the death-blow for the University and for easily accessible, high quality, local higher education provision, as they will result in:

• Fewer lecturers able to make best use of their subject specialist knowledge
• Larger classes, less time in class, and less individual contact time with staff
• Fewer specialist librarians, in-house IT staff
• Reductions in specialised in-house support
• Longer queues, fewer, more stressed and overworked staff across the whole of the university including Reception, Registry and Student Services

Meanwhile, just down the road from London Met’s North Campus on Holloway Road, the Government has decided to close Archway Tower and relocate the ‘Office of the Public Guardian’ (OPG) out of London. As OPG currently employs some 500 staff this is likely to result in major job losses for those who are either unable or unwilling to relocate because of family commitments or other reasons.

OPG provides an incredibly important public service to some of the most vulnerable members of our society. It exists to promote the financial, health and welfare affairs of people who lack mental capacity, with staff visiting thousands of mentally and physically disabled people across the South-East to provide that support.

The threatened relocation will not only have a dire impact on jobs and the local economy. It is also likely to result in a vastly reduced service. Under the proposed new service instead of dedicated officers visiting people in their homes there could be call centres as the OPG will become fragmented.

These two disputes make it clear that the Government, with the support of ‘business managers’ who run our educational and other public services, are willing to let us pay with our jobs and services for their failed free-market policies and lack of adequate investment. They say there is no money for jobs and education, yet are happy to throw billons of pounds into bailing out their friends in the City who caused many of our problems.

• Now is the time for Government to change direction and put people before profit.

• Now is the time to fully fund our services and support free education for all

• Now is the time for us to join together and march for jobs and education!

Read the full post with comments!



Tuesday 21st April, 7.00pm
Exmouth Arms Pub, Starcross Street, near Euston Station

This open meeting is being called to ensure as many trade union and community group activists as possible can become directly involved in the organising and planning of our local initiative. We also want to ensure that our local campaign can be used to help initiate a London-wide campaign in defence of jobs, education, and public services.

Read the full post with comments!

Detailed statement from unions


As you know, UCU and UNISON negotiators have been meeting management regularly in an attempt to avoid redundancies. Unfortunately, so far we cannot report significant progress. The key areas of disagreement remain:

Click on link below for full post...

1 – Budget
Management refuses to consider using part of our capital receipts (in excess of £30m) to fund a short-term deficit budget that will avoid the need for premature redundancies while we collectively devise a real recovery plan..

2 – Workloads
We have not yet agreed a workload Issues This is crucial to ensure that staff who do not leave are not overwhelmed with extra work and that departments can continue to function properly.

3 – Timing of voluntary redundancy scheme
Management appears unwilling to accept that it makes little sense to open a voluntary redundancy scheme in the middle of formal talks that are aimed at minimising the need for redundancies. This is not an abstract argument. If, and when, a voluntary redundancy (VR) scheme is launched, there needs to be clear agreement on how many volunteers are required, which areas those volunteers will be accepted from, and the funding available to support the scheme. We also need to be assured that those refused VR would not then be eligible for compulsory redundancy. Although management have made some concessions, we still have no agreement on the scale of the problem or confidence in the strategy for minimising job losses of which a VR scheme would be part.

4 – Compulsory redundancies
Management refuses to withdraw the threat to initiate compulsory redundancy notices this academic year, nor will they undertake not to initiate a round of compulsory redundancies as soon as the VR scheme is completed. We fear that management's desire to rush into a VR scheme before the end of the 90-day consultation is to ensure that they can immediately launch into compulsory redundancies when those consultations finish in May.

As a union we have a duty to protect all our members’ jobs and conditions of service. So far we have ensured that management are consulting us. We have pointed out numerous savings and alternatives to job losses. None have been taken seriously by the management. We have discussed London Met’s problems with HEFCE and with politicians. It is clear that there are ways of dealing with the financial mess management created without threatening the future of the university. Our campaign enjoys a great deal of sympathy at all levels. Yet management is still insisting on cutting one in four jobs at London Met!

Now is the time to display our collective resolve. Our negotiators need a mandate should management continue to refuse to take these consultations seriously. So unless there is significant movement in the near future, we will be balloting for industrial action. In this we will be moving forward with our UCU colleagues who have voted to ballot for industrial action too. A ballot will give us an opportunity to tell management what we think of their threats. It allows us the voice we have so far been denied in the future of London Met.

We still hope that sense will prevail. Voting for action does not necessarily mean we will actually need to take it. We believe that a demonstration of our determination will encourage management to be more reasonable in negotiations. However, it will also put us all in a position to resist forced job losses should they not drop their current intransigence.

If we are forced into a position where industrial action is the only choice left, we will need to think carefully about what form it will take. Our aim is not to disrupt exams or to hurt the students. Their support has been – and remains - a powerful weapon in our fight to save the university. Therefore before we take action, the Branch Executive Committee will consult the membership, the students and our sister union. We will all work together to save London Metropolitan.

Read the full post with comments!

UNISON resolution to Ballot for industrial action

The following resolution was passed unanimously (with one abstention) at the UNISON AGM:

Resolution to London Metropolitan University UNISON Branch Annual General Meeting, 2nd April 2009: Dispute with Management over job cuts

Click on link below for full text of resolution:

1.0 This Meeting Notes

1.1 That Management have failed to withdraw the threat of compulsory
Redundancies and are intent on launching a voluntary scheme without union

1.2 Management have moved towards job cuts, redundancies and outsourcing,
This threatens to increase workloads

1.3 Management’s refusal to engage in proper departmental consultation,
Involving heads of department, and sufficient time for constructive input

2.0 This Meeting Resolves:

2.1 To enter into further dispute with LMU on the above grounds

2.2 To organise a ballot for industrial action to protest against the above

2.3 To instruct / request the relevant UNISON officials to immediately set in
motion the process for organising for such a ballot

2.4 If necessary to organise a successful ‘Yes’ campaign to vote for industrial
Action – up to and including industrial action

2.5 To organise for department consultation meetings in preparation for
Management conceding to our demands for full and meaningful negotiations

2.6 To arrange comprehensive training event(s) for London Met UNISON
Representatives in negotiations specifically geared towards minimising

Read the full post with comments!

Messages of support


We've received dozens of messages of support for our campaign to save London Met, stop the job cuts and stop outsourcing. We've put some of them into one post here. Please send your messages of support to:

London Met UNISON:
London Met UCU:

Click on link below for full post...

George Galloway

Congratulations on your protest today, which has my wholehearted support. I am sorry that I cannot be with you today.

I am at a prearranged series of events in Edinburgh raising material aid for the people of Gaza and campaigning for the post of Lord Rector, at the behest of large numbers of students. Among the issues I am campaigning on are student finance and ending the chaos that surrounds university funding, which itself is all too inadequate.

I am both angered and shocked that London Met plans to cut £18 million from the teaching budget and that the HEFCE is clawing back £38 million from the university.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt and your local union officers have written to me explaining that other universities in a similar position have responded in a more restrained way than London Met. I have written to the university governors today asking them at the very least to do likewise.

But there is an obvious parallel here. The government boasts of its "fiscal stimulus" and "counter-cyclical" actions in the face of the deepening economic recession. However late, limited and hobbled by deference to the banks and big business those measures are, the principle of state action to stave off economic collapse is sound. Why then for banks and not for jobs?

What logic is there in piling on the public debt by handing money to the City while cutting public spending or allowing it to be cut in vital areas such as education?

These cuts would be crushing anywhere, but speaking as the MP covering the Tower Hamlets site of London Met they will be devastating. Large numbers of local students study at the university. It makes a vital contribution to the community in the borough helping to raise young people's expectations in one of the most deprived areas in Britain.

I am confident that any attempt to push through cuts and job losses on anything like this scale will be met with strong opposition not only from campus staff and unions, but from the wider community in east London. Neither will we tolerate any attempt to play off one part of the university against another. We oppose cuts in north London as strongly as in east London, and in Parliament Jeremy Corbyn and I will work as one to back your campaign.

In solidarity,

George Galloway MP


I am writing to express my support for your campaign in opposition to these appalling job cuts.


John McDonnell MP


MESSAGE from the GENERAL SECRETARY to UNISON members at London Metropolitan University


I was extremely concerned to learn of the current crisis you face at London Met. Although I understand that the basis leading to this point has been clearly known for sometime, it is only in the last week or so that the potential loss of jobs has become known.

To state that 320 redundancies will have to be made in this financial year alone is difficult enough to comprehend but to be told that two thirds of these redundancies will involve support staff posts; makes our task in UNISON all the more urgent; our role in representing your interests so much more important.

The first step must be to be provided with the required formal notice of redundancies that will begin to clarify where and which posts are under threat; the methods the University intend to use to select those at risk; the ways in which they will seek to reduce this potential number of jobs being lost and in doing so, avoid compulsory redundancies. And through the period of consultation that will follow this notice being served, we will do all in our power as a union to hold them to this.

I am reassured to know that you have a strong team of local representatives acting on your behalf within the University and playing their part in the wider campaign to protect the learning opportunities afforded to your students. I know they will have the full support of UNISON’s Greater London Region. I also welcome the way in which we will be standing shoulder to shoulder in the campaign ahead with our colleagues in the UCU.

I will be writing to the Higher Education Minister, David Lammy, seeking his intervention both in lessening the financial burden imposed on London Met by HFCE and in dealing with the University’s senior management team who have clearly lost your and the entire workforce’s confidence given the staggering incompetence they have shown in the build up to this crisis.

I wish you well in the difficult times ahead and rest assured that UNISON will be with you every step of the way.

Dave Prentis
General Secretary, UNISON

I am writing to give my support to the decision of the UCU London Metropolitan Branch to ballot members on industrial action in defence of jobs and services.

Institutions like London Metropolitan University, built on former polytechnics with very strong local roots, were established and run with public funds to widen access to education.

It is, therefore, a scandal that, at a time of deepening recession and when communities need access to education as never before, your management sees fit to make random cuts on such an extensive scale.

We wish you every success in your ballot and hope that it persuades management to give serious consideration to the alternative proposals put forward by your Branch.

PCS is also proud to give its support to your community campaign and resistance to damaging job cuts. We are pleased that a joint initiative has been organised in conjunction with PCS members in the Office of the Public Guardian. I have asked our London & South-East Regional Secretary, Tom Taylor, to ensure that full details are circulated to our branches in London and that members are encouraged to attend. I would be grateful if you would pass on my greetings.

With best wishes

Mark Serwotka
General Secretary, PCS


Jeremy Dear, NUJ General Secretary, who spoke at one of our meetings, has his own blog so his members can keep up to date on what he's been up to. His posting on Friday includes the following quote from his speech:

"There is a fundamental reason why every trade unionist should be standing with you.

"UK PLC is in recession. Hundreds of thousands of jobs will go. At such a time further and higher education becomes not less but more important.

"Expanding education is a vital response to economic crisis. London Met, a vibrant university with a mix of class and ethnicity and culture must be central to helping re-skill and retrain Londoners facing a daunting future not adding to the unemployment figures. Education cuts are a false economy."


To UNISON and UCU London Met University

I am writing on behalf of UNISON Tower Hamlets Local Government Branch to offer our support for your campaign to save jobs.

We believe that it is totally unacceptable that academic and other staff, many of whom will be low paid support staff should pay for financial mismanagement by senior staff.

These cuts will have a devastating impact on the staff affected, and can only have an adverse impact on students. London Met provides vital educational opportunities for working class students in Tower Hamlets.

Whilst your management appear to have a heavy responsibility for financial mismanagement we also believe that the government should not be imposing the full cut in funding. When banks have been brought to the edge of ruin by financial mismanagement this government has provided staggering amounts to bail them out. A tiny fraction of that kind of support would remove the need for any compulsory redundancies and enable trade union and student bodies to engage in constructive discussions with the University governing bodies about future funding.

Jobs and educational opportunities in Higher Education also need and deserve to be protected in a time of recession.

We hope to have a delegation on your protest tomorrow and wish you a great success with it.

Please keep us informed on the progress of your campaign and of any assistance we can provide.

In solidarity,

John McLoughlin
Branch Secretary
Tower Hamlets UNISON


Goldsmiths UCU gives its full support to colleagues at London Metropolitan faced with cuts and victimisation. There should be no room for managements who compensate for their own failures by taking it out on their staff; but apparently there is. There should be no need for redundancies when we have a government dedicated to increasing access; but apparently there is. There should be no rights for managers to victimise trade unionists for offering their support to other trade unionists; but apparently there are. Finally, there should be no way that a College has the right to attack both its staff and undermine the quality of education for students; but apparently, in a marketized system, there is. We stand with you and wish you success on all fronts.


Goldsmiths UCU


Dear Colleagues,
On behalf of Barnsley College UCU we would like to offer you our full support in your fight to stop redundancies. What is happening to you is outrageous and your fight will get the support of the overwhelming majority both of lecturers and everyone working in the education sector and beyond.
We are grateful to the London Met UCU members who supported our fight last autumn to defend a victimised member and we pledge to do all we can to return that solidarity now. Unity is indeed strength.
Dave Gibson (Barnsley College UCU secretary)


I wish to offer my support for all staff at London Met who are facing the misery of continued mis-management despite the early departure of Brian Roper, who seems to have landed the insitution in a terrible mess. The current voluntary severance scheme appears yet another ill thought out attempt to right the sinking ship. I appreciate it will not be easy to get things back on track but threatening to sack dedicated staff appears to be totally the wrong approach. The first step should be assurances for staff and then together staff and management can work to resolve the difficulties. It does look like government intervention is required and this is justified for an institution such as London Met, which has a major role to play in London, not least the training of social workers sadly being cut from my own institution for less than satasfactory reasons. Lets face it, billons spent on the banks have not fixed their financial problems - it is time to spend the money where real good can be done.
Ian Bland, University of Reading


We read with horror the way in which the management at LMU have chosen to deal with your financial problems. We at Elliott school face a similar scenario, with the announcement of 6.2 redundant posts and a catalogue of manipulations, in the name of 'restructturing' to try to divide staff by making them apply for their own jobs. Like yourselves we are left with no choice but to ballot for industrial action and we support you wholeheartedly in your actions in defence of the education service we all work so hard to maintain.
Spencer Barnshaw,
Wandsworth NUT joint secretary


Cranfield UCU Local Association wishes to express solidarity and support to their colleagues and friends at London Met during the ongoing difficulties that you are facing with London Met management. We have drawn attention to the online petition and I have written to your acting Vice-Chancellor in protest against the University's plans.
Ned Ashby, Secretary, Cranfield UCU


I would like to offer support for UCU members at this difficult time. We are having our own difficulties at my college and staff are underthreat of redundancy here also. All this at a time when the workforceneeds teachers and trainers!
Caroline Brown, BME, Coleg Sir Gar (Wales)


Sorry this message is so brief - it's just to express support for your campaign and to say I'll forward the information about itto colleagues, email the VC and follow the other suggestions for how to support you in the message.
Good luck with this.
Dr Michael Loughlin, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, MMU Cheshire


It is essential that the laughing cavalier management at LMU are heldpublicly accountable otherwise the sector will continue to attractprincipals who are intellectually mediocre, self-aggrandising bullies.I wish you well.
Barbara, University of Sunderland


What I have learned is horrific. I would urge University not to punish staff for the inefficiency of the govt and management. I strongly support the staff against the job cuts.
Mehdi Husaini, Teesside University


Comrades, I'm appalled but hardly surprised at events at LMU. This is an attack on us all and must be resisted with absolute solidarity and in everyway. You have my full support! La lutte continue!
Dr Lawrence Green, CIBI, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School


Dear Colleagues I've recently retired as a full time academic from UWIC in Cardiff. Over the years I've helped organise many battles against redundancies and it is the hardest fight we face and cannot even really start without the strongest ongoing industrial action. This must be taken before names are known otherwise the unity starts to be undermined. You've also two battles - one against your management but also against the Funding Council and the UCU nationally should help you apply pressure against the latter. There is no way that we can allow HE in London to be decimated. It is not acceptable that students and staff should be expected to pay the cost of incompetent - and worse - management.
Len Arthur - Cardiff


I am voicing support for those staff facing the redundancy battle withLondon Met.
Dr. Deirdre Osborne, Goldsmiths College, University of London


I support the UCU's concern over the threatened redundancies at London Met.
Geoff Nash, University of Sunderland


Dear Comrades,

I am appalled, though far from surprised, at the plans put forward for LMU. They are an insult both to the staff and the students and run counter to the better instincts of both civic and academic society.

I have circulated your appeal among my fellow union members in GMB Norwich branches and the local Trades Council, and more widely to progressives in various local political and civic society groups. I have signed the petition and am about to write to the Acting Vice Chancellor to protest these vicious cuts.

In solidarity

Keith Rowley, Branch Secretary, GMB Norwich General Branch


Supporting your rights to be heard, to work under fair terms and and conditions and your value recognised.
Janice Baker
(ex-LGUSU Peer Support)


Dear colleagues,

London needs the whole range and scale of provision of HE that exists, indeed, with the latest news of increasing student demand in the face of the recession, it needs to grow. The threat to provision and jobs at London Met makes no sense; it is illogical for current staff and future students to lose jobs and opportunities because of gross errors by management. The cuts would leave a damaging gap in the education available for students from London and elsewhere.

I have circulated your call to all our members and will ensure we discuss it as a matter of urgency at our next meeting. I am confident you will have the full support of our members, please keep us informed of how we can support you.

Mike Cushman
Secretary, LSE UCU branch


Dear UCU and other union colleagues at LMU, I wish you the very best in your struggle.
Yours in solidarity, Steve Ludlam

Dear Vice-Chancellor,

I am prompted to write to you having received the news that you are to close the International Institute for the Study of Cuba.

As an academic I am of course familiar in outline with the unacceptable position in which London Met has been placed, and I wish you well in your unenviable task of recovery.

However, as an academic in the field of the study of Cuba and Latin America, I must say I am astonished that you are closing an Institute that had rapidly established itself as a leading centre in its field in Europe, not only in terms of its scholarly impact, but in terms of the network of policy and other specialists who have visited, given seminars at, and engaged with the Institute and its journal. The Institute has forged valuable links in the Americas north and south, and become a point of reference for students and academics, and increasingly for policy and economic actors and other institutions seeking guidance and insights.

I must say that I felt London Met had pulled off a coup in setting up this Institute with such strong intellectual resources, and establishing such a long-term asset for the University. I very much hope that you will reconsider this decision.


Steve Ludlam
Senior Vice-President, Sheffield University and College Union


On behalf of City of Westminster College UCU branch, I would like to express our support for your members and condemn in the strongest possible terms the behaviour of your management, who appear to be taking decisions against the long term interest of the college, as a result of problems created by their own financial incompetence and resulting in a massive reduction in the workforce, without meaningful consultation, and in the worst possible economic climate for those concerned, without even the very limited protection of the usual redundancy terms on offer in the rest of the sector.
Louise Orrock
Branch Secretary
City of Westminster Branch


Good luck in your action - the staff are the most valuable resource of a University - so why would a University want to damage its own resources?

Dr Simon J. James
Senior Lecturer,
Durham University

I am writing on behalf of Hackney NUT, in order to offer our support for your strike against massive redundancies and a subsequent attack on the quality of the education offered to your students. Members in my own school, Stoke Newington, have also asked me to send their support.We are appalled that the university management is refusing to use money it has in order to protect jobs and education at the university, in a time of rising unemployment among young adults. We are also aware that London Met has, for many years, been a place where many people, particularly from black and ethnic minorities, have been able to pursue their education, often after negative experiences earlier in their lives in schools and colleges, and we believe the proposed cuts to be an attack on people’s rights to an education. Good luck tomorrow.Yours sincerely,
Jane Bassett, On behalf of Hackney NUT

Just a note to say best wishes for your industrial action tomorrow. I'm sure members at London Met will be encouraged by the recent success at Doncaster College, where restructuring plans have been withdrawn. Employers can only get away with mismanagement and financial incompetence for so long. I hope you have a well-supported and effective strike, which makes your Governors and management realise they have to abandon plans for redundancies and instead protect educational provision at London Met.
In solidarity,
Elizabeth Lawrence, Vice Chair HE Committee


Dear colleagues please give my support to all the members on strike today to defend their jobs at London Met and also my apologies as I was one of the governors who appointed Brian Roper as VC of UNL!
Hugh Kerr former MEP and ex NATFHE secretary at UNL


The following message was unanimously passed at a meeting of BirminghamUniversity UCU members today, Wednesday 6th May 2009.
"This meeting of Birmingham University UCU members condemns themismanagement at London Metropolitan University which is now being usedas an excuse to cut 550 FTEs in jobs. BUCU expresses its solidaritywith London Met UCU in its fight to defend jobs by taking industrialaction."
Kind regards,
Marilyn Luck, UCU Office University of Birmingham
Please accept this message of support from the London College of Fashion UCU branch. Your struggle against job cuts has our full support. Your fight is our fight.Yours in solidarity
Tony Sullivan - Branch Secretary LCF UCU


To UNISON and UCU, London Metropolitan University I am writing to offer the support of UNISON London Voluntary Organisations Branch in your battle against massive redundancies and an obdurate management. Unimaginable sums of money have been thrown at the bankers who created the current crisis, yet we are constantly told that there is no money for essential jobs and services. The cuts that you are battling threaten to greatly reduce the opportunities for access to higher education for thousands of people across north and east London, and your campaign is an excellent example of unions standing together to beat off attacks on our jobs and services. In the voluntary sector we're all too familiar with the consequences of financial mis-management being taken out on the workers and service users, and we fully support your demands for the government to intervene and give London Met the necessary funding. All the best for your strike on Thursday, and we will be publicising your demonstration on the 23rd among our members. Please keep us informed about the progress of the campaign. In solidarity, Charlie Hore, Secretary, UNISON London Voluntary Organisations Branch


Keele UCU wishes LMU UCU a successful strike on 7 May, leading to victory in your campaign to save jobs and courses.
Very best wishes.
Mike Ironside, Chair of SEMS Action Committee, Keele UCU.


I'm a retired UCU member from Manchester Met, formerly branch chair and shop steward.
I can't get to your picket line, I'm afraid, but just wanted to send best wishes to your members in their fight to save jobs.
Sack the managers, keep the staff!
Colin Barker


All the best for your strike on Thursday. We have our AGM tomorrow and I will propose a message of support from the branch. Let me know if there is anything you would like us to do.In solidarity,
Graham Kirkwood, Centre for International Public Health Policy, University of Edinburgh
Dear Staff at London Met university, We would like to give our wholehearted backing to the staff at London Met University who have voted decisively to take action to defend their jobs and the future of the University itself.

The proposals from your managers for upto a quarter of the jobs at London Met to be lost would be a disaster for higher education in your Uni, but also other Universities around the country.
We need more opportunities for students, not less.We need more resources in higher education, not less.If your action defends your jobs and University's future, then we hope there will also be more confidence amongst other University staff, who are also feeling under threat of cuts in jobs, and courses.

You have our wholehearted support. Good Luck. Yours in Solidarity,
Dr Kay Phillips, RESPECT national chair

Our executive sends a message of uinequivocal support for London Met UCU members' struggle against the swingeing cuts proposed, ostensibly in order to correct the extraordinary errors of management. We send greetings in solidarity with your strike tomorrow and wish you all every success. We are not able to send a presence tp your picket lines but please let us know what else would be useful. In unity,
Maeve Landman (on behalf the UWE branch and for its executive committee)
Why should we pay for their crisis? Make the bosses redundant. Your fight is our fight!Best wishes & solidarity to London Met striking staff & students.
Julian Thomas Branch Chair & Patrick McCann Branch Secretary Uxbridge College UCU
UNISON members in the London Fire Authority congratulate UCU members at London Metropolitan University on your strike yesterday. You have our full support in your fight to defend your jobs and education opportunities for working class people. Workers in both private and public sectors need to fight together to resist the effects of the economic crisis which will mean massive cuts in pay, jobs and the services we provide unless we fight back. In the fire service, we have already experienced cuts in the current financial year and are gearing to fight even worse cuts in a few months. We have a branch meeting on Tuesday, 19 May at 12.30 pm at the address below. You would be very welcome to send a speaker. Regards,
Tony Phillips, Branch Secretary UNISON LFEPA, Clerkenwell Fire Station
Dear Comrades,

I am writing on behalf of Whitechapel firefighters to offer support in your fight to defend your jobs and service. New Labour's promise of education, education, education has been replaced with sleaze, war and cuts. Why should ordinary folk be forced to pay? The only power we have to defend our jobs and services is our collective ability to strike and protest. That is why your action is so important - it is a strategy for victory and an example to all who want to fight back. We face our own fight in the fire service and firefighters should recognise that this fight is part and parcel of your fight to defend education. Solidarity across the working class is key. Best of luck with your strike and protest today. United we stand.

Neale Williams
Chair Whitechapel FBU
Dear sisters and brothers,

We wish you victory in your fight against redundancies at London Met. While the situation is not a direct consequence of the recession is it is a product of fat cats awarding themselves bonuses while corruption and underhand 'accounting' runs rife. Bankers aren't the only ones well rehearsed in deception and greed.

We must make sure that we don't pay for the crisis that their system is bringing on us. The fight for jobs is the fight for our future.

Solidarity forever!

Kirstie Paton (president) on behalf of Greenwich NUT
Dear London Metropolitan UNISON members

It is terrible news to hear of the 226 compulsory redundancies at your
University in a time of deep economic recession. The fact that this has
been made possible as a result of errors of management makes it doubly

Anyone with two brain cells can think of a number of potential savings of
tens of billions of pounds which could be made instead of cutting
educational staff with the inevitable drop in service to students which this
will entail.

Best wishes,
Marie Parker
Dear London Met!

The Arts Group sends it's greetings and sympathy with the issues you face. The catastrophic failure of the funding system in this case sadly highlights the problem with the current system, but particularly around institutions in areas like London, and for those teaching with strong specialist subject areas (In particular the Arts, which make up around 7% of London Met according to the HESA Stats). The HE funding system is grossly flawed, the number of students crammed into facilities across the country is increasingly worrying, and the poor planning in a system based around debt and student numbers bares out in the barrage of cuts and poor satisfaction ratings. In the face of a flawed funding system, even with exceptional staff commitment and skill we cannot expect to see a sustainable University sector.

We hope some of your student reps can join us for our next meeting on July 10th at Loughborough SU to talk about issues effecting students of the Arts nationally.


Kit Friend Esq. Chair of The Arts Group Representation & Action for Students of the Arts

Good luck today and support from City University branch.

John Saunders
On behalf of
City University UCU Branch President
We send you our solidarity from Tower Hamlets UNISON.

Our members at Tower Hamlets College and St. Paul's Way School are also engaged in battles to defend jobs and education.

It is appalling that workers and students are expected to pay the price for management's failings.

Even worse that education should face huge cuts in the teeth of a recession.

Any government that finds billions to bail out bankers should ensure that education is defended.

Good luck today. If we all need to take action next term we hope and believe our unions should coordinate it.

Unity is strength.

John McLoughlin
Branch Secretary
Tower Hamlets UNISON Branch
Dear UCU London Met,
I have been instructed by the University of Stirling branch executive of UCU to convey to you our dismay at management's behaviour at your institution and convey to your our full support.
All the best,
Dr Eric Shaw
Secretary UCU
School of History and Politics
University of Stirling
Good luck with the strike.
A victory at London Met will be a blow against austerity for all of us.
Meanwhile MPs are quibbling about paying back their gardening expenses! They should cut their own grass, or maybe their lawns are too big?

In solidarity
Graham Kirkwood
Asst Sec UCU Edinburgh University
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Good luck with your joint strike action this week against the truly horrific proposed redundancies at London Met. The very fact that you are standing up and fighting back against such an attack is inspirational. The UCU members in my own college are involved in a battle against our management's attempts to solve its financial problems at our expense and every example of education workers fighting back helps raise our members' spirits. I firmly believe that if we fight we can win. All power to your campaign.
In solidarity,
Dave Gibson (Barnsley College UCU secretary)
Dear Colleagues and UCU members at London Met,
I am writing to you from the University of Wolverhampton UCU branch to express our support for your continuing struggle against redundancies at London Metropolitan University . At Wolverhampton we have watched with admiration as well as concern the battle that you continue to fight to defend not only your jobs but also the value of the educational principles on which new universities were founded. You are probably aware that at Wolverhampton our management is now proposing 250 redundancies (10% of total staff) for reasons very similar to those offered at London Met. Although these redundancy levels are less than those proposed at London Met they will still cause irreparable damage to our university and we and you have a vital interest in drawing strength from one another. We congratulate UCU members and representatives at London Met for their resolute and sustained campaign against redundancies. We have no hesitation in offering you our support and hope that we, and UCU and UNISON members at other universities faced with managements seeking to push the blame for their problems onto their staff, can work together to lift this threat to the institutions that we have fought so hard to build. Good luck with your ongoing campaigns and actions.
Best wishes,
Loraine Westcott
Chair- UCU Negotiating Committee
University of Wolverhampton
Hi Mark,
Just sending a message of support for your couple of days strikes. I live in Kilburn and have supported picket lines at Kilburn and Dollis Hill strikes. I am a member of the Socialist Worker Party, and Branch Chair of Hillingdon Public Services Unite Union. From what I have read about London Met (and heard when I did go to one of your picket lines) it seems to be run at the top by people who earn too much money, and dont care about their employees, students, or services.
Revolution would be nice!
Yours In Solidarity,
Solidarity greetings to UCU and UNISON members at LMU from Islington teachers.

Your fight is part of the opening round of a battle all public sector workers are going to have to fight in coming months to defend their jobs and the services they provide, whoever wins next year's general election.
Tower Hamlets College lecturers have shown us how to fight and win.

We wish you the same success.
Ken Muller (Assistant Secretary)
On behalf of Islington National Union of teachers
I am a lecturer at Tower Hamlets College. I would like to wish you all the best in your campaign to avert cuts in jobs and classes. I shall be on the Holloway Road picket tomorrow evening.
Wojtek Dmochowski
Dear London Met UCU,
We are writing to express our continued support for the action you aretaking against redundancies and cuts at London Metropolitan University. Wehave encouraged our colleagues to support the greylisting and to drawattention to the horrific attacks on provision of quality education atLondon Met. We are delighted that you are taking such decisive action andhope that the campaign will force management to come to their senses andto realise that their staff are an indispensable asset. Your action is allthe more important given the scale of cutbacks across HE and a victory atLondon Met would be an inspiration for everyone fighting for highereducation.
in solidarity,
Goldsmiths UCU
Solidarity greetings from UCU Branch at Chesterfield College.
We congratulate our brothers and sisters at London Met in your courageous fight to defend both your jobs and the educational opportunities of the communities that you serve.Right the way across both further and higher education the market driven vandals of the education world are out to slash and burn provision and jobs. We in FE face our own challenges and our members in colleges up and down the country have been inspired by the recent victory against job losses won by decisive action of our members at Tower Hamlets. We all know that a victory for you your fight to challenge redundancies in HE will also strengthen us.keep up the good fight.

Adele Potten-Price
Branch secretary Chesterfield College UCU
More to come...

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