Monday, 25 October 2010

London Met University UNISON / Students' Union/ UCU joint statement on the Browne Report and Spending Review cuts

Last week, the Government announced unprecedented cuts to Higher Education budgets as a whole (40%). The Browne report came out the week before that, recommending a removal of the cap on tuition fees. These policies would be utterly destructive.

The government appears to be hell bent on dismantling the welfare state, public education and health. If Lord Browne has his way, families could have to shell out between £76,000 and £136,000 to put two children through university. Browne, who made himself rich as an oil Baron for BP, could afford that. Could your family?

His recommendations would be as disastrous for Higher Education as BP’s oil spillage was for the Gulf of Mexico.

These cuts are categorically unacceptable, unfair and unnecessary. The political elite can afford to waste billions on fighting in Afghanistan, an ageing nuclear defence programme, and an aircraft carrier that has no aircraft to carry … but cannot educate its own children.

Arts, humanities and social sciences are degraded as no longer ‘priority’ subjects – they could losing government funding altogether. Art is a crucial part of our economy and an essential fabric of London life and culture. What would happen to John Cass, the college of Music, or Arts College - non-science subjects will become privileged hobbies for millionaire private schoolboys like Cameron, Clegg and Cable. Universities like ours could shut down altogether.

Meanwhile, at London Met, we’re still recovering from the cuts of 2009 caused by funding scandal not of our making. The immediate impact of a hike in fees at London Met is obvious and does not need to be spelt out. There is no alternative but active opposition and active resistance.

United, we staff and students fought back against the cuts last of 2009 – we refused to pay for the incompetence of our old management and their crisis, we demanded and eventually saw the Governors’ mass resignations, we saved 200 jobs and we stopped outsourcing.

Now we’re being told to pay for the banker’s crisis – and again, we say: ‘no, we shall not pay for their crisis!’ We saw the back of the Governors at London Met – we’ll see the back of this government too.

The three unions - support staff in UNISON, lecturers in UCU, and the Students’ Union - pledge resistance to these cuts to education. We pledge to do all we can to:

  • save the welfare state from these vandals;
  • defend education from market madness; and to
  • protect all public services from parasites and privateers.

We call on all staff to join the unions in our campaign – and those who are not members of the unions to join up and join in.

We call on senior management - and the Vice Chancellor in particular - to declare their opposition to these cuts and support our pledge of resistance. We call for:

  • a day off from lectures and from work on 10th November 2010, so we can:

Demonstrate against cuts to Education

Come to a joint-union

Campaign launch Party at 'The Rocket', Holloway Road

4th November 2010, starts at 6pm.

Speakers from all three unions, music afterwards

To find out more and how to get involved - to check everyday for activities and events, meetings and demonstrations, letters to write to your MPs, subscribe to our mailing list... go to the re-launched ‘Save London Met’ website:

London Met University UNISON, UCU, Students’ Union

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