Monday, 13 July 2009

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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