Sunday, 28 June 2009

Further strike action at London Met (UCU press release)


Thursday 25 June 2009, for immediate release

London Metropolitan University will be brought to a standstill on Thursday July 2 as members of the University and College Union (UCU) and Unison take a day’s strike action as part of their ongoing fight to save hundreds of jobs. Classes will be cancelled for the second time in two months following earlier industrial action by UCU in May.

The unions have accused the university of trying to sneak through redundancy plans that could see staff rejected for voluntary redundancy sacked on vastly inferior terms. UCU today repeated its call for London Met to come clean about why it was announcing 226 compulsory redundancies when people had been rejected for the voluntary redundancy scheme.

In total the university has announced 330 redundancies by July 2010. It has approved just 113 applications for voluntary redundancy (equivalent to 104 posts), leaving 226 posts facing the axe. The union said it knows more than 113 people applied for voluntary redundancy and is demanding to know why staff happy to leave had been rejected, leaving others to face the sack.

The union also demanded to know who was at risk, when any cuts would be made, what plans were in place to ensure the delivery of future teaching and for the university to be far more transparent with its plans. The announcement of 226 compulsory redundancies in the next 13 months was described as ‘another slap in the face’ for staff at the beleaguered institution.

There has been no guarantee from the university that individuals rejected from the voluntary scheme will keep their jobs and many may find themselves sacked with a vastly inferior redundancy settlement. The union said today that LMU’s senior management needed to assure staff they would not be victims of a ‘cynical ploy to circumnavigate good employment practice’.

The union has already called for an independent inquiry into the current mess at the institution and today voiced concerns that there is no evidence of a strategy for the delivery of teaching in the next academic year, despite a potentially vastly reduced workforce.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: “The situation at London Met is bad enough as it is and industrial action was the last thing we wanted to see. However, the institution’s failing management has left us with no other option. It is absolutely outrageous that staff at the institution who entered the voluntary redundancy scheme in good faith may find their application rejected and then be sacked anyway.

“This looks like little more than a cynical ploy to circumnavigate good employment practice and we will not stand for it. We need a guarantee now that no staff will suffer this fate and a further guarantee that the university will commit to proper consultation before any further rounds of redundancies. UCU and Unison members at LMU have the full support of the national union in their action and can rest assured that we will be fighting the dangerous redundancy plans all the way.”

The university has been hit by funding cuts and repayment demands totalling millions of pounds following inaccurate reporting of the number of students completing courses. Its funding was cut by £15million a year and a further £36.5million has to be repaid for previous years' over-funding. The university’s response to the crisis was to announce plans to axe at least 550 posts, which equates to 800 staff actually at risk (one quarter of the workforce).


Alex Rossiter t: 020 7756 2598; m: 07977 562 686; e:

No comments:

Post a Comment