Wednesday, 27 May 2009

London march protests in defence of jobs and education

Tuesday 26 May 2009
by Sadie Robinson
Hundreds of people marched down Holloway Road, north London, on Saturday of last week in protest at huge job cuts threatened in the area.

Hundreds of jobs are under threat at London Metropolitan University and at the Office of the Public Guardian at Archway Tower.
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Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Hundreds March Against Job Cuts

By Will Roche
Monday, 25 May 2009

North London saw hundreds march through its streets last Saturday in protest of a wave of planned cuts in jobs and public services in the surrounding areas. Slogans like “They say cut back! We say fight back!” and “What do we want? Jobs for all! When do we want it? Now!” echoed around Islington’s busy Holloway Road.

At the head of the demonstration were staff and students from the local London Metropolitan University, where as many as 500 jobs may be axed due to a funding crisis caused by incompetent management, made worse by the recession. Also on the march was local Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn, along with dozens of other trade unions, many of which are also fighting against cuts in their industries.

Read the rest here.

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University’s drop-out funding ‘conspiracy’ (Islington Tribune)

By Tom Foot

SERIOUS allegations of “conspiracy” were made against an Islington university in parliament on Wednesday.

The Westminster Hall debate called by Jeremy Corbyn MP, and attended by high-profile politicians including the Universities Minister David Lammy MP and former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith, heard claims from a top Tory front-bencher that London Metropolitan University intentionally “misreported” student drop-out rates to increase its funding allowance.

An external audit of the university last year by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce), an independent quango that manages all universities, found London Met had wrongly claimed £36.5million over three years for students who did not finish their courses.

Conservative MP Rob Wilson, a former shadow higher education minister, told the debate: “Were university departments told to suppress drop-out information? My information is that that is exactly what they did. Far from being a cock-up, this was a conspiracy.”

The Tory Whip added: “Government figures show that, in 2005-06 and 2006-07, London Met reported non-completion rates of between two and four per cent, when it would be expected that such a university would report figures closer to 30 per cent. Why did the university get it so wrong? Why did the Hefce not pick it up much earlier?”

Mr Corbyn said: “That is a very interesting question – I am looking for the answer myself. Suddenly it fell to a very low figure. The questions that we are asking all point to the need for a proper inquiry into what went wrong. Above all, we need to try to get through this crisis.”

He told David Lammy:“I would like the Minister to understand the degree of anger and concern locally and within the teaching and student bodies.”

University bosses plan to claw-back the cash by axing 550 full time staff posts leading to more than 5,000 student places being lost. Entire departments will be closed down in the cost-cutting cull.

Labour MP Emily Thornberry said: “It remains unclear how incorrect information about non-completions led to the university being overpaid. Others have referred to an error by the administrators, but I spent 20 years as a criminal lawyer dealing with cases that looked very much like this one, and I do not understand why the police have not been involved.”

Mr Lammy told MPs that a forthcoming independent inquiry into higher education funding patterns would focus on recent events at London Met.

He said because universities were “autonomous” it would not be right to interfere in their accounts. He said: “It might be nice for the local minister to go in and start organising a university’s finances, but we live in a democracy in which this Parliament has voted for that autonomy and maintains it. That means that the Government cannot intervene in any situation in which a university is in discussion with the funding council.”

Diana Abbott MP, who had pleaded with Mr Lammy not to “hide behind” the quango Hefce – an unelected body that manages all universities and agrees levels of public funding – could be heard loudly criticising Mr Lammy in the Commons lobby after the debate.

London Metropolitan University is the largest university in London spread over four campuses in Hackey, City and Islington. Notable alumni include the radio presenter Zoe Ball, the film director Lord Puttnam and the comedian Vic Reeves – but it is celebrated for widening access to people from disadvantaged backgrounds with a range of unique courses. More than 97 per cent of the students went to state schools and more than half are from ethnic minorities. It is felt that Hefce should give more leeway to universities taking students that are, statistically, more likely to drop out midway through courses.

Mr Duncan Smith MP told the debate: “The university has some specialities that are almost unique to it, such as cabinet-making. The only other university in the UK that offers such a course is Buckingham, which is a private university, and the people we are talking about are not the kind who will go there to get these skills.”

Special praise was given to a range of courses at London Met including the Caribbean Studies, which helps forge links with universities in other deprived parts of the world.

Labour MP Ian Gibson told the debate: “More and more universities in this country depend on international contacts and on students from overseas paying astronomical fees. It seems to me that the London Met has started something by looking at poorer countries with poorer students. It is making relationships across the world, and that is worth a five-star rating.”

Demonstrations have been staged outside the Holloway Road buildings and Vice Chancellor Brian Roper was forced to resign in April. He continues to be paid his £150,000 until November despite being replaced on Monday by the “trouble-shooter” Alfred Morris CBE. The new Vice Chancellor is known in the industry for turning around the fortunes of education institutions facing financial ruin.

A sit-in student occupation of university buildings in City ended on Friday and lecturers and a massive protest will march from Highbury Fields at 11am, down Holloway Road on Saturday to a rally in Archway Park.
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Friday, 22 May 2009

Promised London Met inquiry revealed to be Hefce exercise

22 May 2009

MPs demand apology from Lammy as they learn there will be no independent scrutiny of London Met crisis. Melanie Newman reports

The “independent inquiry” announced by David Lammy into the crisis at London Metropolitan University is nothing more than an ongoing exercise commissioned by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, it has emerged.

Read the rest here, and perhaps we need to start writing new letters to the 'Right Honorable' David Lammy that updates this old one from students here. Post your suggested text in comments below...

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Thursday, 21 May 2009

Think-tank doublethink (Cliff Snaith, THES)

21 May 2009

Policy Exchange wants to inflict a bankrupt ideology on London's students and communities, argues Cliff Snaith

Policy Exchange, the right-wing think-tank, has "discovered" that universities can go to the wall ("Bankruptcy should be a real option, argues think-tank", 23 April).

Specifically, London institutions can be closed: by implication, London Metropolitan University is first in line. But I believe that the only bankruptcy exposed by Policy Exchange is that of the Right's higher education strategy.

Read the whole article here.
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Government announces inquiry into London Met crisis (THES)

21 May 2009

MPs allege that Hefce colluded with university over inaccurate data. Melanie Newman reports

The Government has announced an independent inquiry into how London Metropolitan University came to owe £36 million to the Higher Education Funding Council for England after MPs suggested that the two bodies had colluded over inaccurate data submissions.

Read the rest here.

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Governors have explored the legal scenarios if London Met goes bust (THES)

21 May 2009

Advice has been delivered on positions under corporate insolvency law. Melanie Newman writes

Governors at London Metropolitan University have received legal advice on their responsibilities should the university go bankrupt.

The university is in financial trouble after the Higher Education Funding Council for England decided to claw back £36 million that it paid for teaching, based on inaccurate student data submitted by the university.

Read the whole article here.

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UCU responds to appointment of new London Met vice-chancellor

19 May 2009

London Metropolitan University (LMU) has today appointed Alfred Morris as its new interim vice-chancellor. The news comes as MPs prepare to press the government to investigate the institution's failings.

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Uni jobs protest march (Islington Gazette)

CAMPAIGNERS will stage a protest march this weekend in a bid to save 500 jobs and 5,000 student places at London Metropolitan University.

Hundreds of people are expected to assemble at Highbury Fields at 11am on Saturday before marching past the university, in Holloway Road, to a rally in Archway Park.
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The Guardian on new (interim) VC, Alfred Morris

New head of London Met is Alfred Morris

Brian Roper's replacement to take up helm amid concerns over job losses and funding holes

History of London Metropolitan University from its creation from Guildhall and North London to Alfred Morris's appointment as vice-chancellor
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Adjournment debate: we win the call for a public inquiry

A significant success: Since the outset of this campaign, we've been calling for accountability and for those responsible for this mess to pay the price. It appears we won that argument yesterday, during an Adjournment Debate in Parliament, which can be watched online, here.

You can also read the whole transcript here. The final paragraph represents a big result for us so far:

"Mr. Lammy: There will, of course, be an independent inquiry, and an inquiry by the National Audit Office into the financial arrangements for universities, which will have particular regard to the London Met situation."
Let's hope that we'll see more responsibility for the current crisis at London Met from the managers who got away with this for so long, and not us staff and students who have been told to pay the price...

Will the Board of Governors please explain: Why are we still paying for Brian Roper's salary until December?

Thanks are due to Jeremy Corbyn especially for having campaigned tirelessly to get this all out in the open.
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Sunday, 17 May 2009

East London Advertiser: Angry lecturers meet MPs over £50m university cuts

OUTRAGED lecturers and students protesting against plans to axe 550 jobs at their university declared “the gloves are off” when they met in Parliament today. They packed a committee room meeting in the Houses of Parliament to protest to East London MP George Galloway about the “devastating” £50 million cuts planned at the London Metropolitan University.

Click here for the full article...
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Thursday, 14 May 2009

Photos of UCU Strike on Thus 7th May

We're pleased to have some great photos of last week's successful UCU strike & rally just sent to us from (c) Guy Smallman :

(c) Guy Smallman

Click on 'full post' link below for more...

All the above photos are (c) Guy Smallman

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VIDEO: Student Occupation - London Met

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Wednesday, 13 May 2009

News from the student occupation

For more photos of the student occupation go over to our friends at the 'London Met crisis' blog.

Or you can follow their news on Twitter for updates.

And see here and here for good press coverage. Keep it up! And some more reports coming in, see for example here. Send us your reports or link to them in the comments below.
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Tuesday, 12 May 2009

JCAMD occupation poster #02 Sois Jeune et Tais Toi

See the original May 1968 French poster, which reads: "Be young and shut up":
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Troubleshooter linked to top job at London Met (THES)

12 May 2009, By Melanie Newman

Lampeter v-c ‘on the brink’ of stepping into the breach at troubled institution. Melanie Newman reports

Alfred Morris, interim vice-chancellor of the University of Wales, Lampeter, is understood to be on the brink of taking the reins at London Metropolitan University.

Mr Morris, 68, is gaining a reputation in the higher education sector as a troubleshooter, having been parachuted into Lampeter in 2008 after a management crisis at the institution. Senior executives left after the university was criticised in a report by consultants commissioned by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales.

The report suggested three options for Lampeter, including merger and relocation. Mr Morris backed the former proposal soon after stepping into the breach, and in December 2008 the university joined forces with Trinity College Carmarthen.

Mr Morris was vice-chancellor of the University of the West of England until 2006.

London Met is understood to be planning to announce the appointment later this week. It had its teaching grant cut by £15 million for 2008-09, and is facing the clawback of a further £36 million over the next five years, after the Higher Education Funding Council for England discovered it had been under-reporting student non-completions. As many as 550 jobs could go as a result.

Meanwhile, students have occupied London Met’s Sir John Cass department of art, media and design in protest over staff redundancies. The move followed a one-day strike by lecturers last week.

A spokesperson for the students said: “As a result of these unprecedented cuts, the Sir John Cass department is to be hit particularly hard, with projected job losses of more than 50 per cent in many subject fields.”

Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, said: “London Met students rightly are concerned about how the severe planned redundancies will impact on their education and for the future of their institution. It’s time the management faced up to their errors and stopped punishing the staff for their mistakes.

“Hefce has said it will be holding an independent review looking at its involvement in the crisis, and we call for a full independent inquiry into London Met’s finances and how the institution has been run. Any talk of redundancies must be put on hold until after that has taken place.”

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Demonstrate to support Student Occupation at Commercial Road Building

(Photo from demo, posted on )

From UCU and UNISON's Save London Met campaign committee:

Students in the Sir John Cass Department of Art, Media and Design have occupied rooms in Commercial Rd in protest at the proposed cuts to staff. We understand that they are demanding that Management drop the proposals to make staff redundant and that managers come to explain to students what is happening.

It is encouraging to find such levels of support among our students and to see them so active in defence of education. We sympathise with their frustration and with the sense that management will not listen to any arguments, however well reasoned or constructive.

Rumour has it that, unlike all the other universities occupied earlier this year, London Metropolitan will not allow this to run its course and that management is taking the students to court to regain possession of the coffee bar. No classes are being disrupted as far as we know.

We are therefore calling for a brief demonstration outside Commercial Road at 5.30 today. Please come and show students that solidarity works both ways!

See here for location details:

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Student occupation at London Metropolitan University over job cuts (UCU)

The University and College Union (UCU) today (Tuesday) called for a public enquiry into the failings of London Metropolitan University (LMU) as students from the university staged an occupation of the institution’s Commercial Road building.

The students began their occupation of London’s biggest university at 5pm yesterday (Monday) evening. The full address is 41 Commercial Road, London E1 1LA. Map -

The university faces a bill of over £35m from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) for misreporting the numbers of students completing degrees and responded to the crisis by saying it wanted to get rid of over 550 jobs, which actually leaves 800 staff at risk (one quarter of the workforce).

Last week (Thursday 7 May) UCU members went on strike after the university said it was pushing ahead with a voluntary redundancy scheme that that the union argued had no strategy behind it. The scheme was announced during talks designed to avoid redundancies and, UCU said, left the union with no option but to ballot members for industrial action. Last month the vice-chancellor, Brian Roper, quit, but he will remain on the payroll until the end of the year.

UCU members across the UK are currently being balloted for industrial action over planned job cuts at around 100 universities. The union said that the employers’ organisation’s refusal to act as the crisis over jobs deteriorated had forced it to ballot for industrial action. That ballot result is expected on Friday 22 May.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: “LMU students rightly are concerned about how the severe planned redundancies will impact on their education and for the future of their institution. It’s time the management faced up to their errors and stopped punishing the staff for their mistakes.

“The funding council (HEFCE) has said it will be holding an independent review looking at its involvement in the LMU crisis, and we call for a full independent enquiry into LMU’s finances and how the institution has been run. Any talk of redundancies must be put on hold until after that has taken place.”

LMU has over 34,000 students and is the largest university in the capital. It has a proven track record when it comes to widening participation and has been at the forefront of the government's strategy to open up university to more students from 'non-traditional' backgrounds.

London Metropolitan University – a pioneer for widening participation:

97.3% of LMU students come from state schools or colleges (31st highest in the UK)

42.9% come from lower social economic groups (26th highest in the UK)

51.9% of students at LMU are mature students (5th highest in the UK)

There are 3,565 part-time students at LMU (18th highest in the UK).



Dan Ashley t: 020 7756 2600; m: 07789 518 992; e:

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Student Occupation at London Metropolitan University

This from the Students who are occupying:

To Whom It May Concern:

As of 17:00 on Monday 11th May 2009, a large group of students from London Metropolitan University’s John Cass department of Art, Media & Design began occupation of part of the Commercial Road building located at 41 Commercial Road, London E1 1LA in protest to university management’s plans for imminent and unprecedented staff redundancies. These redundancies are the result of a drastic funding cut by HEFCE of £15m per year, as well as a ‘clawback’ of a further £36.5m, which have been imposed due to inaccurate submission of attendance figures. Under the rules, students are identified as non-completions if they do not take the final assessment of each module.

As a result of these unprecedented cuts, the Sir John Cass Department for Art, Media & Design is posed to be hit particularly hard, with projected job losses of over 50% in many subject fields. Examples of proposed job losses in specific subject fields are as follows:
· Musical Instruments – 2 out of 4 posts (Full-time Equivalent)
· Silversmithing & Jewellery – 3 from 7.8 staff (Full-time Equivalent)
· Furniture, Product & Upholstery – 5 from 11 staff (Full-time Equivalent)
· Polymer Technology – 2 from 5.5 staff (Full-time Equivalent)
· Media & Music Technology – 1.5 from 18 staff (Full-time Equivalent)
· Technicians: 15 from 30 in the department as a whole

It is worth pointing out that a significant proportion of these staff are employed on a part-time basis (for example in the furniture department alone there are 5 tutors classified as part-time). Part-time staff are counted as 0.5 full-time equivalent posts, so the actual teaching deficit created by these redundancies will have a profound and devastating effect on current courses. These redundancies could potentially come into effect before teaching begins for the 09/10 Autumn semester.

These teaching cuts have been planned despite Secretary of Universities John Denham calling for savings to be made in administration costs, rather than the core university business of teaching and research. Mr Denham has also recently called for universities across the country to offer more vocational degrees. It would appear to LMU students that management is not listening to government and forging ahead with plans which will almost certainly spell the end for many high-quality vocational degrees.

Up until this point senior management have relayed almost no information on proposed redundancies and cutbacks to students, creating an air of distress and frustration. Many students are unsure whether they wish to continue their courses with so much uncertainty, it is expected that most students will not know the outcome of next years teaching until they return at the beginning of the Autumn semester.

Today’s student occupation is the result of growing anger amongst students who feel their education is under severe and imminent threat. They are calling for the Higher Education Funding Council for England to intervene and engage with LMU management, who they believe lack vision and inspiration to sustainably weather the financial storm currently surrounding the university. They are also calling for management at the Sir John Cass Department for Art, Media & Design (i.e. Brian Falconbridge & David Butler) to engage in constructive discussion directly with students, regarding ways in which the severity of staff redundancies can be lessened.

At it’s April board meeting, HEFCE agreed that “if the recovery of overpaid grant had very significant financial implications for a higher education institution, then, on a case-by-case basis, HEFCE might work with it to develop an investment proposal founded on the need to achieve systemic change that repositioned the institution, thus strengthening the future sustainability of its provision”. The students of London Metropolitan University are now calling on HEFCE to act on its word, as the only possible outcome of management’s current planned redundancies will be to have a devastating effect on the frontlines of higher education- namely students and teachers.

Armed with modern technologies the occupying students will be giving regular updates of their progress via Twitter, their campaign can be followed at

Further information on the financial crisis facing London Metropolitan University can be found by visiting or

Or contact for further information.


UPDATE 12/5/09

At 22:30 last night, management's initial reaction was to call police on the occupying students in an attempt to have them forcibly removed. Fortunately for the students they were unable to do anything and the occupation continues. For further information and regularly updated photos, please go to

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Students occupy campus over funds (BBC)

Students have staged a sit-in protest at London's largest university over plans that could see 550 jobs axed.

Some 30 students have occupied London Metropolitan University's (LMU) Commercial Road campus in Whitechapel, east London.

LMU is being forced to repay some £50m after auditors found drop-out rates were higher than stated - it has been overpaid by £15m a year since 2005.

Last week, lecturers took strike action over the funding issue.

'Alternative proposals'

Union leaders said the trigger to strike action was a "poorly thought through" redundancy scheme announced by managers in the middle of talks.

Amy Jameson, a furniture design student, said she hoped the current protest would be a lengthy one.

"We're intending the sit-in to go on for as long as it takes the management to listen to us and start communicating and negotiating with us."

She added: "Up until this point, we've engaged in no direct communication with the management. They're not really willing to consider any kind of alternative proposals that have been put forward to them."

The university has more than 34,000 students on its register and 4,612 members of staff.

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To the students in occupation at London Metropolitan University

To the students in occupation at London Metropolitan University
We have recently been informed that you have occupied one of the campus buildings to protest at the proposed course closures and job losses at London Metropolitan University. We would like to congratulate you on behalf of London Met UCU and UNISON committees for standing up for education. Your action in defence of your courses and your university against the destruction that is currently being wrought by management is admirable and should inspire all of us to fight harder to defend our university.
In solidarity.
London Metropolitan UCU Co-ordinating Committee
London Metropolitan Unison Executive Committee

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Monday, 11 May 2009

Students occupy Commercial Road building

Just received this:


I have recently received a phone call from the schoolkeepers informing me that the management will be calling the police to end the occupation at 9pm sharp tonight.I have informed the media of this and expect that there will be coverage.

Also sent our head of department, Brian Falconbridge, an email telling him that the actions of the management will be monitored by the media and that we have a meeting with George Galloway on Thursday at the Houses of Parliament regarding his incompetence.

Don't let them push you around!

Read the rest here:
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BBC Radio 5 Live: UCU Gen Sec Sally Hunt and THES Editor Phil Baty discuss latest revelations at LMU

Sally Hunt and Phil Baty, deputy editor of Times Higher Education, discussed the situation at London Met on the Donal MacIntyre show on BBC Radio Five live on Sunday 10 May. You can listen to it here:

(at about 48 minutes and 15 seconds)
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Friday, 8 May 2009

FoI request opens can of worms over London Met’s dropout rate (THES)

Hefce figures for non-completions 13 times higher than university data

Melanie Newman reports

The student non-completion rate reported to funding officials by London Metropolitan University was 13 times lower than the figure established by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

The university is threatening to make hundreds of staff redundant in the wake of a multimillion-pound clawback by Hefce related to the underreporting.

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act from Hefce show that the university reported a total dropout rate of just 2.3 per cent in 2006-07. Hefce gauged the rate at 30.6 per cent for the same year. The previous year, London Met had reported that 3.6 per cent of students failed to complete, compared with a Hefce figure of 30 per cent. In 2007-08, the university said it had 15,306 full-time undergraduate and taught postgraduate students, but Hefce said there were 10,613.

Hefce has now asked London Met to repay, over a five-year period, £36.5 million it was overpaid from 2005-06 to 2007-08. It has also deducted £15 million from the university’s 2008-09 recurrent funding.

“The main issues found in the audit review were underlying weaknesses in the student-record system and a misinterpretation of the funding rules,” Hefce’s FoI officer said.

Under the rules, students are identified as non-completions if they do not take their final assessment or pass any modules. While other universities have also fallen foul of the regulations, the size of the clawback from London Met is unprecedented.

Times Higher Education has seen correspondence in which a London Met lecturer suggests that students should be removed from the course register as they never turned up to classes. A senior manager advises the lecturer that this could not be done before 1 December, the date figures are returned to Hefce.

Hefce is changing its rules on completion for 2009-10. It has agreed to fund students who do not complete their courses as intended, provided that they complete more than 20 credits’ worth of study. At its April board meeting, it reaffirmed its policy of recovering overpaid cash relating to the underreporting of student non-completions.

The board also agreed that “if the recovery of overpaid grant had very significant financial implications for a higher education institution, then, on a case-by-case basis, Hefce might work with it to develop an investment proposal founded on the need to achieve systemic change that repositioned the institution, thus strengthening the future sustainability of its provision”.

But it added that there would be “no guarantee” of an institution securing funds via this route.

The funding council has commissioned an independent “lessons learnt” exercise into its role in the London Met debacle, which is due to be submitted to the Hefce board in July.

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Thursday, 7 May 2009

Strike at funding row university (BBC)

Watch the London BBC news TV coverage of our strike here:

And read their report here:

Lecturers at London's largest university are striking over plans that could see 550 job cuts.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) vowed to bring London Metropolitan University (LMU) "to a standstill" during the one-day strike.

Read the rest here.

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Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Islington Tribune: 'Uni staff call strike'

HUNDREDS of lecturers and support staff at London Metropolitan University have voted for strike action in a row over massive jobs cuts.The university in Holloway Road has been hit by funding cuts and repayment demands of more than £50million after it wrongly claimed government funding for students who did not finish their courses. Union chiefs have criticised London Met for plans to claw back the deficit by axing at least 550 academic and staff posts – entire departments will be shut down under the proposals...

Read the full story here

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East London Advertiser: 'Lecturers vote for strike over threat to 550 university jobs'

LECTURERS at London Metropolitan University have voted overwhelmingly for a strike or other industrial action.They are stepping up their fight to stop 550 posts being axed.The university, which has major campuses in London’s East End at Aldgate and Whitechapel as well as its main site at Holloway, has been hit by funding cuts following alleged ‘inaccurate reporting’ of students completing courses...

Read the full story here

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Strike Thursday May 7th

Lecturers will be on strike on Thursday after a substantial majority voted for action to save the University. Since this has always been a joint campaign, we aim to avoid hitting exams but call on all students to join us in collecting petition signatures outside the main entrances of most university buildings in the morning and at our rally 1-2pm in Holloway Rd.

All students who would like to participate in an event to demonstrate their opposition to the cuts should get in touch. Time is really running out - management intend to make everyone who is dismissed leave before July 31st. Now is definitely the time to stand up and be counted before it is too late!

Just in case you have forgotten, the cuts will mean:

- up to quarter of the staff dismissed
- nurseries closed
- libraries short-staffed and, in the longer term, closed
- several courses closed and many others severely hit
- outsourcing of IT and Media support
- module choice restricted
- less contact time with staff

We can win this - Doncaster College has just withdrawn threats on a similar scale.
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Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Doncaster College job threats

Over a 150 jobs look to have been saved after the decision by Doncaster College to abandon plans for mass redundancies.

BREAKING NEWS - 1 MAY 2009: Doncaster College halts plans for mass job cull

Rally planned for 9 May cancelled.


In total more than 300 jobs were at risk, with 19 management posts, 200 academic roles and 88 support positions under threat. This is the fifth time in five years that the college management has embarked on a restructure and lecturers have been warned to expect increased class sizes as a consequence of the job losses:

* read more here: Doncaster College strike threat over job cuts

Following successful campaigning and lobbying from UCU the principal announced an immediate pause and review of his plans: 'Following feedback from trade union representatives, staff and governors, the executive has been asked to revisit the detail of its restructuring plans to ensure that the impact on colleagues is reduced to the absolute minimum necessary whilst delivering the college's requirements for the future. This aim was always and will remain a key objective. Nevertheless, the executive is happy to review its proposals in the light of the concerns that have been raised. It is obviously vital that we achieve a final outcome that is in the best long-term interests of the college, its learners, staff and stakeholders. Depending on the outcome of the review it may be necessary to extend or restart the collective consultation exercise. The approach will depend on whether significant changes are proposed. For the time being there will be no change to the status of the staff currently at risk of redundancy. The college will at all times ensure we comply with our obligations to consult.'

The deadline for this review was 29 April 2009.

The Guardian wrote an article on 28 April 2009, 'They're trying to get teaching on the cheap', which looks at Doncaster and the wider issues.

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