Tuesday, 28 July 2009

More publicity for London Met strike

from Naomi Byron, Socialist Party

Support and admin staff, technicians and lecturers organised a solid strike at London Met University on 14 July against massive cuts. Dozens of people from all departments are threatened with losing their jobs by the end of this month.

A library worker said: "Everyone in the library is on strike except top management. The cuts are a disaster for students - many of their courses will no longer be available, even ones they've already signed up for. There is talk of reducing the number of libraries to two, but this will lead to job cuts and a much poorer service for students. Most of the buildings students study in have a library, but if this happens they will have to go to Holloway Road or Calcutta House."

Read the full article here
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'Greylisting' threat hangs over university

from The Islington Tribune, 24/07/09

LECTURERS and staff at crisis torn London Metropolitan University (LMU) are threatening management with the ultimate sanction available to them: “greylisting”.

The move, rarely instigated in this country, amounts to a total academic boycott of the Holloway Road university. Unless university bosses scrap plans to axe a quarter of its workforce in July 2010, they will be shamed as operating a “rogue institution” that lecturers should not work for.The University College Union (UCU) has agreed to “greylist” London Met – which has proposed making 550 full time job cuts – from September 1.Barry Jones, UCU’s regional official for London, said: “Grey listing is an academic boycott of an institution. We will be asking people to not get involved on any basis with the university. This includes conferences, applying for jobs, external examinations – anything really.”He added: “It will be hugely embarrassing for the university if we go ahead in September. We are doing this to put pressure on management to stop the redundancies.”

Read the rest of the article here
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Friday, 17 July 2009

Campaign Social // Fundraising party // 23rd July

Click on the thumbnail image above for larger, full page view of this flier.

Please forward to your contacts and friends, and confirm attendance by emailing: c.phillips@londonmet.ac.uk
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UCU reaction to Prime Minister’s promise of extra university places


date: Thursday 16 July 2009

The University and College Union (UCU) today (Thursday) said that it
welcomed the promise from the Prime Minister that there would be extra
student places at universities this year. However, the union warned that
extra places alone could provide more challenges for the beleaguered
higher education sector.

The government originally said it would be capping student numbers this
summer but, with applications to university at a record high, it has now
reversed its decision. The news comes on the back of a report from UCU
that revealed job cuts are being threatened across higher education. The
union warned today that just cramming more students into universities
whilst getting rid of staff would result in more trying to be delivered
for less, with a damaging impact on the quality of UK higher education.

Read the rest here
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Thursday, 16 July 2009

Right to Work Conference - Cliff Snaith - London Met UCU

Speech at the Right to Work Conference by Cliff Snaith, London Met UCU, in June. If more Youtube clips are available let us know.
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The countdown to greylisting begins

UCU will be instigating the greylisting of London Metropolitan University on 1 September 2009.... the clock is ticking.
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Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Union strike virtually shuts down London Met

London Met University came to a virtual halt yesterday as hundreds of workers went on a UCU/ UNISON co-ordinated strike in protest at continued job cuts and outsourcing.

Workers and students honoured the picket lines at every building in both campuses and a lively rally was then held at the Central House building.

Following the rally a delegation then went to hand in a letter and petition to Peter Mandelson urging him to step in and save London Met University.

Speakers lined up to condemn the government, HEFCE and the local management for their failure to keep London Met’s finances in order – and trying to make staff and students pay the price.

See more photos from 'px' on indymedia here.

The pickets were solid throughout the day – and both unions recruited several new members on the picket lines. Postal workers in the Communication Workers Union (CWU) refused to deliver post to any London Met buildings, honouring the picket lines, and fellow trade unionists from UNISON and UCU branches from SOAS, Tower Hamlets, Birkbeck, Royal Free Hospital, City & Islington College UCU, Barnet Unison and Carshalton college, among others, came to show their solidarity on the day.

Despite management’s attempts to keep it open, the Women’s Library had to close completely after a successful picket and recruitment of new member on the day shut the building.
Despite a few strike-breakers – mainly contracted staff – pickets reported many non-union members also stayed at home, taking annual leave or calling in sick. Students coming in to use the libraries also turned away to show support for the strike’s cause.

The level of solidarity on display reflects the anger at the senior management of the university. Max Watson, of London Met UNISON Branch, introduced the speakers at the rally of over a hundred pickets and supporters. Voicing the anger of staff at London Met, he said:
“How dare they talk about cuts, when they waste millions every year on useless consultancies? How dare they talk about cuts when not a single senior manager or HR director is being made redundant? How dare they talk about cuts when they're paying £276,000 a year for the ex-Vice Chancellor, Brian Roper just to keep quiet. Is that value for money? It’s money for Old Roper, that’s what it is.”

Echoing the widespread feelings of the need for more action, Mark Campbell, Chair of London Met UCU branch, warned management that if they don't rescind the compulsory redundancies that are currently being threatened, then there'll be 'total war' in the new term (watch his speech in full here). Ben Whitham, London Met UNISON communications officer, also said: “We’ll keep taking strike action until the cuts are put on hold and the unions get some input into the running of the university.”

Sasha Callaghan, of UCU, passionately spoke against cuts in education at a time of recession. Cuts at London Met will mean cuts for all workers and the poor of London’s East End.
Jon Richards, national Higher Education UNISON official, also spoke in support of the strike action on behalf of Dave Prentis, General Secretary. He highlighted the irony of a recent book that was published by researchers at London Met on the detrimental effects of restructuring, following a seminar he attended, titled: ‘Restructuring is bad for workers health’.

Richards said: “If only the management of this university had read their own researchers’ work – they’ve not implemented a fraction of the recommendations in this book.”

The BBC News and some others covered our strike (see here, here and here for example). And as usual, plenty of solidarity messages came through (see here), including from ‘Feminist Fightback’ – a member who had come to use the Women's Library was happy to find it closed and to hear that her sisters were all on strike.

The rally closed with chants: ‘They say cut back; we say fight back!’, which continued at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. Peter Mandelson’s private secretary came to receive the letter and petition (watch video here).

A new letter was also handed out to all at the demo to send to their MPs and the strikers vowed to return in the new term with further action: “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”

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Demo outside BIS - 14th July 2009

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Strike at uni over threat to axe staff (Islington Gazette)

A UNIVERISTY was brought to a standstill on Tuesday as staff went on strike in an ongoing battle to save more than 500 jobs.

London Metropolitan University (LMU), which has a campus in Holloway Road, Holloway, has been hit with repayment demands totalling more than £36million by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) after the university inaccurately reported the number of students taking courses.

Mark Campbell, who works in the computing facility of the Holloway Road campus, said: "They want to cut 550 full-time posts or the equivalent which could actually be up to 800 jobs cut in the next year. That's more than a quarter of the university staff. It will be the students who ultimately suffer. We want a full independent inquiry into how we got into this mess."

A delegation also handed over a petition with more than 3,500 signatures to the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills demanding the public inquiry and a halt to the job cuts.

Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, said: "The situation at London Met is a nightmare and members don't want be taking industrial action, however, it is not acceptable for management to punish the staff for their mistakes."

Read the rest here.
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Petition handed over to Peter Mandelson at Department for Business Innovation and Skills

(tilt your head to begin with!)
More reports, videos & photos coming soon...
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London Met University Strike (John's Labour Blog)

Posted by John Gray - John's Labour Blog

Today I went to the picket line in Whitechapel to support UNISON members of London Metropolitan University and their UCU lecturer colleagues who are on strike today over the threat of hundreds of compulsory redundancies.

(Picture of UNISON branch secretary Alan Pike, a super picket and UNISON regional organiser, Harry Lister, behind a banner asking the Minister, David Lammy, for the enquiry he promised into London Met finances)

The sad sorry tale of utter financial incompetency and impropriety (or even worse) by some senior managers in the past has resulted in the funding council HEFCE trying to reclaim millions of pounds of grants. The arguments actually put forward by the University to justify sacking people and “outsource” services to save money seem pretty desperate and frankly daft.

It makes you wonder (despair?) about the governance arrangements for the University. Who is responsible for the mess? Why was this allowed to happen? What is being done to make sure this will never, ever, happen again? (Or at another university or college)?

As far as I can see there is still open warfare between London Mets management and the Funding Council. How is this going to help things now and in the future? They are both responsible for this chaos and should deal with the problem without sacking loads of staff or getting rid of students.

There is a wider question about the Boards of governors, trustees, commissioners or whatever, of our traditional British public institutions. Do the so-called “great and the good” of our society who tend to populate these boards have the necessary skills, life experiences and even gumption to challenge the day to day management and give proper strategic guidance and oversight?

On the present day evidence - I think not.

It is a pity that some minor management stooges have tried to wreak the day by trying to score sectarian points and attacking the union. But I suppose that like rubbish management this is something we just have to deal with.

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Solid strike at London Met (Socialist Worker)


Hundreds of workers in the UCU and Unison unions at London Metropolitan University took joint strike action on Tuesday this week against a vicious plan to axe up to a quarter of the workforce.

Members of both unions joined pickets at all the main sites of the university. Unison members at several picket lines reported people joining the union on the day to support the strike.

The receptionist at the Women’s Library joined Unison so that she could take part in the action, forcing management to shut the building.

Ben Whitham, the communications officer for London Met Unison spoke to Socialist Worker from one of the picket lines at the Holloway Road site in North London.

He said, “We’ve had a strong turnout and we’re definitely having a big impact. Already a couple of people who were going in have joined the strike instead.

“Now we have to keep fighting to get the interim Vice Chancellor to drop the failed ‘recovery’ plan.”

Ben added that part of the university’s problems stem from the way it has increasingly been run as a business, instead of as an education service.

He added, “We’ll keep taking strike action until the cuts are put on hold and the unions get some input into the running of the university.”

This is the second strike by UCU members at the university. UCU rep Yaz Djebbour said, “This strike is as strong as last time, despite the holidays. We need to keep the campaign going.”

The strikers and their supporters held a joint union rally at lunchtime and went on to hand in a 3,500 strong petition to business secretary Peter Mandelson.

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Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Lecturers take protest to Mandelson after halting colleges (East London Advertiser)

14 July 2009
By Gemma Collins

SIXTY lecturers who brought their college campus to a standstill today in London’s East End have just held a protest rally in the street before taking a petition against job cuts to Whitehall.

They warned university bosses during the 30-minute rally which ended a few minutes ago outside the London Metropolitan’s campus in Whitechapel that “there will be more action to follow.”


They have now joined lecturers who have walked out at the university’s other campuses in a delegation to hand a petition in to Peter Mandelson at the Department of Business & Skills.

The campuses at Whitechapel, Aldgate, Moorgate and the main site in Holloway have all been brought to a standstill today in a joint action by the lecturers’ union UCU and public service union Unison.

The university has been hit by ‘repayment’ demands by Whitehall totaling £36 million and is responding with plans to axe 550 posts.

The unions are calling for a public inquiry.

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Fund row lecturers strike again (BBC)

Irritatingly, the BBC seem to have missed half the story completely: that UNISON members were also on strike today. *Note to editors* - not just 'lecturers' keep the universities running, and the core staff were also on strike today...

Fund row lecturers strike again (BBC)

Striking lecturers are threatening to bring a north London university "to a standstill" in a row over job cuts.

Staff at the London Metropolitan University (LMU) in Holloway want Business Secretary Lord Mandelson to hold an inquiry into redundancy plans.

More than 300 of LMU's 4,612 staff will be asked to take voluntary redundancy, and strikers say up to 550 posts will eventually be cut.

The university has said it aims to keep compulsory redundancies to a minimum.

LMU says it needs to cut costs after being told to repay £50m when it emerged more students dropped out than thought. The university has previously said strikes are "not the answer".

Those responsible for the current mess must be held accountable, not the staff
Sally Hunt, UCU

But Sally Hunt, of the University and College Union (UCU), said: "The situation at London Met is a nightmare and members don't want be taking industrial action.

"However, it is not acceptable for management to punish the staff for their mistakes."

She said: "Those responsible for the current mess must be held accountable, not the staff, and once again I call upon the Government to hold a fully independent public inquiry."

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Monday, 13 July 2009

University staff to strike over crisis job cuts (London Paper)

Staff at London Metropolitan University are to go on strike tomorrow in protest at 550 job losses and will call on Business Secretary Lord Mandelson to launch an inquiry into the institution's financial crisis
STAFF at London Metropolitan University are due join picket lines tomorrow as they strike over job cuts.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) and Unison said they would bring the institution to a standstill, before delivering a petition to Business Secretary Lord Mandelson calling for a public inquiry and a halt to the redundancies.

The unions said the university had been hit by repayment demands totalling more than £36m and had responded by announcing plans to axe more than 550 posts.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: "The situation at London Met is a nightmare and members don't want be taking industrial action. However, it is not acceptable for management to punish the staff for their mistakes.

"Those responsible for the current mess must be held accountable, not the staff, and once again I call upon the Government to hold a fully independent public inquiry.

"Ministers cannot put this off any longer. The proposed job cuts would be a disaster for students and the local area.

"Any inquiry which does not examine closely the full failings at LMU will be a wasted opportunity to provide a brighter future for its beleaguered staff and students."

Jon Richards of Unison added: "We have tried hard to work with management to avoid redundancies since the university went into financial crisis, but have been left with no choice."

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Lecturers war against university losses (Morning Star)

Monday 13 July 2009

Lecturers at London Metropolitan University will step up their fight against huge job cuts tomorrow with another one-day strike.

UCU and UNISON union members voted overwhelmingly earlier this year to take industrial action after their bosses insisted on making almost a quarter of the university's entire workforce redundant and had already shut down London Met in a strike in May.

UCU union rep Mark Campbell explained that, "as the threat of job cuts - including compulsory redundancies that management wants to make at the end of July - has not been lifted, we have decided to escalate our action.

"London Met's insistence on the loss of 550 full-time education posts, which could end up being as many as 800, needs to be opposed," he stressed.

UNISON assistant branch secretary Max Watson pointed out that management had tried to use the threat of legal action against the unions to postpone the strike.

"Management is clearly scared of our action," he said.

"There is a clear strength of feeling among our members, as nearly 72 percent voted for action, but management's attempt to stop the strike have made people even more determined to fight," Mr Watson revealed.

Mr Campbell added that the demands for job cuts at London Met were "only the tip of the iceberg."

"University and college management are trying to attack staff to make us pay for their self-induced crisis and to use this crisis to remould educational institutions as they want.

"This is, therefore, not simply our fight, but one of the first salvoes in a much bigger fight for the kind of education system that all of us - staff and students - deserve," he insisted.

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Staff to strike again at London Met (UCU)

13 July 2009

London Metropolitan University (LMU) will be brought to a standstill on Tuesday 14 July as members of UCU and Unison go on strike as part of their ongoing fight to save hundreds of jobs.

The latest action comes just two months after staff walked out in May.

Staff will be on picket lines from 8am at each of the main campus buildings at Holloway Road, Moorgate, Aldgate East and Whitechapel (see here for more details).

All staff will then head to a mass rally from 12-1pm outside the Central House Building (just opposite Aldgate East tube station), before sending a delegation to the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) to hand in a petition with over 3,500 signatures demanding a full public inquiry and a halt to the job cuts at London Met to Peter Mandelson.

LMU has been hit by repayment demands totalling more than £36 million and has responded to the crisis by announcing plans to axe over 550 posts. The union is furious that the majority of the university's bosses remain in place and has called for all compulsory job losses to be suspended until a full public inquiry in to the current financial mess has been held.

UCU has consistently warned that the losses at LMU could represent the thin end of the wedge with further job losses being announced with alarming frequency across the UK. The union is preparing a report of the full extent of the cuts it is currently aware of, which it will release later this week – contact the press office for more details.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'The situation at London Met is a nightmare and members don't want be taking industrial action, however, it is not acceptable for management to punish the staff for their mistakes. UCU and Unison members at LMU have the full support of the national union in their actions and can rest assured that we will be fighting the dangerous redundancy plans all the way.

'Those responsible for the current mess must be held accountable, not the staff, and once again I call upon the government to hold a fully independent public inquiry. Ministers cannot put this off any longer. The proposed job cuts would be a disaster for students and the local area.

'Any inquiry which does not examine closely the full failings at LMU will be a wasted opportunity to provide a brighter future for its beleaguered staff and students. We must have a transparent review in which all stakeholders are fully involved and we urge LMU to halt its redundancies plans to allow that inquiry to take 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).

Alex Rossiter
Tel:020 7756 2598
Mobile: 07977 562 686
Fax:020 7756 2501

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Thursday, 9 July 2009

Support our pickets Tuesday 14th

Come and support the strike by joining/ visiting our pickets on Tuesday 14th. UCU and UNISON members will be at all the buildings from 8.00am, but the main ones to go and support are:


Central House, where we will have a lunchtime rally from 12.00-1.00pm

A delegation will then go to the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) to hand in a petition with over 3,500 signatures demanding a full public inquiry and a halt to the job cuts at London Met to Peter Mandelson.

Also in the City campus is Calcutta House

And Gouslton St:

Moorgate Building:

North Campus:
The main building is the Tower on Holloway Rd here:

Just across the road is Stapleton House:

And a little further down is the main admin block, 'the Rocket':

Also in the North, but nearer to Highbury tube, is Ladbroke House:

Your support will be appreciated - our fight is your fight! Come and show your solidarity. If you can't come down in the morning, come to the lunchtime rally at Central House. If you can't come to any, send a message of solidarity by emailing us or leaving comments here.
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Model letter to MPs - sign new EDM 1763

Go here to see the EDM 1763, to find out who is your MP and how to email them the following letter (amend as necessary, and if preferred print and sign as a letter):

House of Commons

Dear ******** ******* MP,

As your constituent, and a member of staff/ student [delete as appropriate] at London Metropolitan University, I am writing to ask you to act urgently to save the university from the prospect of very damaging cuts.

We fear that these cuts will begin a spiral of decline from which the university will not recover. At a time of recession, London needs more educational opportunities, not fewer. As a widening participation university, London Met is very well placed to offer those opportunities to the students who need it most.

What is more, it remains very unclear how this situation has arisen. Given the conflicting stories about what happened, an independent inquiry is vital, in order to establish the lessons to be learnt for the future. Please ask the Minister for Universities, David Lammy, to set one up as a matter of urgency.

In the meantime, we are urging management to declare a moratorium on further job losses at least until the implications of the inquiry have been absorbed and a proper recovery plan drawn up. We know that there is money available to keep the university running until that point. If this does not happen, the scandal will damage the university beyond repair and the cuts will erode what is left of the university’s reputation.

Please sign the EDM no.1763 (from 29.06.09) and write to the Minister, David Lammy, and to HEFCE, urging them to intervene (formally or informally). There is very little time left to make a difference.

I am very grateful for your help.

Yours sincerely,


For further information please see:

Time Higher Education: http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=407156


Adjournment debate: Hansard HC Deb, 20 May 2009, c435WH

EDM 1763 29.06.09 Jeremy Corbyn


Brief history of current problems (attached)

Brief history of the current problems

London Metropolitan University was found to have returned inaccurate statistics about student completions which resulted in significant overpayment of grant by the funding council, HEFCE. HEFCE are now asking for the repayment of £38.5m and have cut London Met’s annual grant by £15m. London Met’s executive blame HEFCE for the problem. The managers who had presided over this fiasco were then charged with coming up with a recovery plan. Their plan was approved by the Board of Governors despite the fact that it was produced without consultation and was entirely unrealistic. Not surprisingly, HEFCE rejected it. We have since learnt that neither HEFCE nor DIUS had any confidence in any of the people concerned.

Despite rejection by HEFCE, the university management are continuing to implement the plan. In January they announced that they intended to cut the equivalent of 550 full-time posts, around a quarter of the staff. Needless to say, despite this shrinkage, no management posts will go. The cuts involve the loss of significant areas of expertise: French, Civil Aviation, Silversmithing, Caribbean Studies, Theatre Studies, English, Asia Pacific Studies, Musical Instrument Making, Furniture; in non-academic areas there are plans to close the nurseries, outsource IT on the un-researched “assumption” that it would save money, and abolish the famous Widening Participation Unit. These are, in many cases, subjects in which London Met has an international reputation.

Even where courses manage to survive, the impact will be considerable. Staff will be asked to cover for the colleagues who are being dismissed, a clear sign that even if dismissed they are not really ‘redundant’. Students will face less choice of modules, larger classes, less contact time with staff, fewer librarians, IT and media staff, possibly more stress, fewer resources generally.

Both staff and students have tried to make representations to management but management will not listen. Alternative suggestions are treated with derision, consultation has been a sham, governors do not even read our letters. Management do not even seem to respect the statutory guidelines, equality legislation or the terms of our contracts. Recently the Human Resources department announced compulsory redundancies to take effect in three weeks’ time.

Staff are outraged that the people who were responsible for the financial problems of the university remain in place and refuse to accept any blame while those who had no part in it – staff and students – are bearing the costs. Staff have been on strike and will be on strike again next week. Students have organised demonstrations and occupied part of a university building in protest. However, neither engagement with management, nor protest has made a difference. Political intervention appears our only hope.
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Wednesday, 8 July 2009

UNISON / UCU all members meetings Thus 9th

  • What happened last week with our strike? Come and find out...

  • What is going to happen next? Come and find out, debate and get involved...

  • Thinking about joining the union but aren’t sure? Come to meet union members and talk face to face with other reps ...
North Campus:
Date: Thus July 9
Time: 1-2pm
Location: SHG-01 Stapleton House

City Campus:
Date: Thus July 9
Time: 1-2pm
Location: CM2-18 Calcutta House

Come and get involved - this campaign is your campaign!

Your union is what you make it!

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More than 300 UNISON members at London Metropolitan University will finally take to the streets next Tuesday (14 July) in a day of strike action over job cuts.

University management had put a stop to the strike on 2 July, as they denied receiving legal notification of the action.

But the UK’s largest public sector union will push ahead with protest plans after a strike ballot - held after negotiations to avoid compulsory redundancies broke down - showed that 71.5 per cent of members wanted industrial action.

The university is set to make 330 posts redundant by July 2010 and has approved just 113 applications for voluntary redundancy, leaving 226 posts facing the axe.

A further 200 vacant posts are to be lost over the same period, taking it to a total of 500 jobs, or 25 per cent of the staff.

The move follows the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s (HEFCE) announcement that there would be a £15 million funding cut.

The university had inaccurately reported the number of students taking courses and the HEFCE is demanding £36.5 million worth of overfunding back.

Jon Richards, UNISON’s Head of Higher Education, said:

“London Metropolitan University put a stop to our plans to strike, but we refuse to step down and ignore their deplorable actions.

“The fact we had to cancel action on 2 July to be certain workers would not be victimised has further fuelled our fight.

“We have tried to work with management to avoid redundancies since the university went into financial crisis, but have been left with no choice.

“Even though hundreds of workers are set to lose their jobs the university failed to implement a proper voluntary redundancy scheme.

“We are working hard to protect staff and students and believe that the funding council and the Government should be doing the same.”

UNISON has 328 members at London Met who work as clerical and admin staff, as technicians, library staff and in the facilities department.

The union is working with UCU and NUS in the campaign to challenge the cuts.


For more information please contact the UNISON Press Office on 0207 551 1255.

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Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Industrial Action – Tuesday 14th July

Make your voice heard

UNISON members in London Met voted overwhelmingly to take strike action, to show our anger and frustration to an employer who simply isn’t listening. An employer who ground itself deeper and deeper into debt. An employer whose management won’t be paying the price for this incompetence and mismanagement – WE ARE!

An employer who is intent to carry on regardless with the largest number of redundancies faced by the Higher Education Sector in the country – no matter what.

We asked for the voluntary severance scheme to be extended – they said NO

We asked for proper and meaningful consultation where our concerns could be heard and listened to – they said NO

We asked for intervention from HEFCE and education ministers – they said NO

We even tried to take strike action last week, they falsely claimed not to have been notified properly, they misled you – and then they said NO

Now, we are the ones saying NO

NO more redundancies until we’ve seen the equality impact assessments on the redundancy plans, they have a legal duty to do this

NO more redundancies until our alternatives have been listened to properly, what’s the point in entering into negotiations if they don’t intend to listen

NO more redundancies until we can be guaranteed that those facing compulsory redundancies are offered the same as those who took voluntary severance

All members are called to take part in the strike action on 14th July. Pickets will be arranged by the branch committee and each workplace will have a senior rep.

All members are expected to attend picket lines on the day.

We didn’t cause the current financial problems they are facing – but we will be expected to pay for them – with our jobs!

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Friday, 3 July 2009

Govenors held to account over job cuts at London Met

2nd July lobby of Peter Anwyl

Students and staff today lobbied the Chair of London Met University’s Board of Governors, to protest against job cuts (photos from 'px', indymedia).

The protest was aimed at Peter Anwyl, Director of International Student House (ISH), who has consistently refused to meet or talk to the unions. A delegation from both UCU and UNISON went to present a letter protesting at the cuts in staff at LMU.

London Met Board of Governors approved the plan to make 550 redundancies last month, refusing to consider union proposals to ease the damage done to the staff at London Met.

Before handing in the letter, Allan Pike and Cliff Snaith, representing UNISON and UCU, said that the Board must take responsibility for their actions: governors should either reverse the plans to cut jobs or resign. The letter reminded Anwyl of his responsibilities in empowering a discredited management to implement a plan rejected by the funding council and of government criticisms of the Board of Governors’ “lack of oversight”. It ended by inviting him to complete his own Redundancy Selection form.

Jeremy Corbyn MP, (left), spoke at the rally, outlining and reaffirming his support for London Met University and the campaign to save it. He said: “David Lammy agreed to our call for a public enquiry, and I intend to hold him to account on that.”

Corbyn announced that he has also tabled another Early Day Motion, and has asked numerous questions in Parliament: “Government ministers have said it’s not up to us, it’s down to HEFCE... Well, I’m sorry, but that’s not good enough. The government sets the budget and allocates the money. At a time of a recession, mounting unemployment and rising applications for university places, there needs to be proper investment in higher education from the Government.”

UCU immediate ex-President, Sasha Callaghan (right), also spoke in support of the fight to save London Met, calling the management’s plans to cut so many jobs a ‘disgrace’.

Up to 50 staff and students chanted: “Peter Anwyl hear us say, London Met staff are here to stay!”, and, “they say cut back; we say fight back!”

Dozens of leaflets were given out to the bemused staff and students at ISH, who wondered why there was a protest about London Met Uni on their doorstep.

Mark Campbell, from UCU, told the crowd: “We’ll be back!” A new day of strike action and further protests outside the workplaces of members of the Board of Governors are being planned.
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Thursday, 2 July 2009

MP calls on Mandelson to shield London Met 'innocents' from crisis (THES)

MP calls on Mandelson to shield London Met 'innocents' from crisis

2 July 2009

Parliamentary motion demands protection for students and staff. Melanie Newman reports

An MP has called for "innocent students and staff" to be protected from cuts at London Metropolitan University, which is embroiled in an ongoing funding crisis.

Jeremy Corbyn, Labour MP for Islington North, has tabled a parliamentary motion demanding that Lord Mandelson, the First Secretary, intervene "to protect the university and innocent students and staff from the funding row".

Read the rest here and to get your MP to sign the new EDM, go here.

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Letter to Chair fo Board of Governors, Peter Anwyl

Dear Mr Anwyl,

We are writing to you today to ask you to reconsider the impact of decisions made by the Board of Governors of which you are Chair. It is unfortunate that we have to do so in such a public manner but since you have consistently refused to meet us or respond to our letters, we have no option but to do this.

We did not expect you to agree with everything that we put forward but we did believe that as reasonable governors you would wish to listen to as many sources of information as possible before making decisions that threaten the viability and academic integrity of the whole institution. We now know, however, that through its ‘lack of oversight’, the Board of Governors has already brought London Met to the brink of closure. We fear that, in a very different way, you will be doing it again.

The loss of so many posts, and the race to impose the first wave of jobs by the end of this month in such an obsessively hurried and ill-thought-through manner, threatens much of the best of London Met. Our reputation has already suffered near-terminal damage: revelations about management and reporting failures have made us a laughing stock. Nonetheless, we retain a high reputation for widening participation and for many of our courses. This academic reputation is now threatened by the race to get rid of staff regardless of impact and the cavalier disregard for quality assurance.

What is more, the job losses appear to be based on the risible and thoroughly discredited ‘strategic plan’ drawn up in secret by management last summer. The authors of this plan are precisely those in whom DIUS, HEFCE, staff and students (indeed, everyone except yourselves and Alfred Morris) have expressed a complete lack of confidence. It is not surprising that HEFCE refuses to fund it, that students are protesting about it and that staff see no point in sacrificing themselves in order to see it implemented.

We have finally established some dialogue with Alfred Morris and we still cling to the hope that you and he will see fit to halt all redundancies planned for the end of July. However, at the moment, staff are facing horrendous questionnaires asking them to ‘justify their existence’ in order to retain a job. We wondered whether governors were prepared to undergo a similar exercise. To that end, we enclose a questionnaire about your own activities on behalf of London Met.

We would be delighted to meet you to discuss the future of the university at any time.

Yours sincerely,

Cliff Snaith (UCU)

Amanda Sackur (UCU)

Mark Campbell (UCU)

Allan Pike (UNISON)

Max Watson (UNISON)

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Early Day Motion EDM 1763

Early Day Motion

EDM 1763

Corbyn, Jeremy

That this House calls on the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills urgently to intervene to protect student places, courses and staff positions at London Metropolitan University; and recognises that the dispute over past Higher Education Funding Council for England funding is not the fault of the staff the university is trying to make redundant, the students currently studying at the university or the next generation of students who will be denied university education.

See who has signed this here.

Write to your MP asking them to sign this new EDM.

Use this model letter to send to your MP.

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University workers call off strike (PA)

University workers call off strike

A planned strike by hundreds of university workers has been called off after employers denied receiving legal notification of the action, it was announced.

Members of Unison at London Metropolitan University were due to walk out on Thursday in a row over jobs.

Unison official Vicky Eaton said: "The employer is insisting that they were not notified of the strike, even though we contacted them correctly.

"We have done our best to ensure that we have complied with the legal procedure, but we cannot be certain our members will not be victimised, so have had to cancel."
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Wednesday, 1 July 2009

RALLY - Picket Board of Governor's Chair, 2nd July 1pm

1pm-2pm, Thurs 2nd July 2009
International Student House
Save London Met
Defend jobs, defend education

Jeremy Corbyn MP and Mark Serwotka (Public & Commercial Services union General Secretary), among others, will be speaking.

Why there?
Peter Anwyl, who is the Director of International Student House, is Chair of the Board of Governors for London Met Uni. That's the Board that oversaw this whole fiasco. See comments from HEFCE in the last report here:

“The author of the DIUS memo, whose identity is withheld, reveals that a Hefce-commissioned report provided by consultants BDO that scrutinised data handling at London Met was “extremely critical” of the institution’s processes and its governing body’s lack of oversight....

“This report was considered so incendiary by London Met that lawyers acting for Brian Roper, its former vice-chancellor, and a number of the university’s governors threatened to sue Hefce for defamation if it was published, the documentation reveals.

“The memo from the DIUS official, dated January this year, says the BDO report “will strengthen the [Hefce] board’s lack of confidence” in London Met’s management.”

Map & directions to International Students House, where we will meet:

How to find ISH

International Students House is located at the north end of Great Portland Street at the junction with Marylebone Road. The nearest tube is Great Portland Street which is opposite ISH.
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