Monday, 14 November 2011

Why are the unions striking over proposed changes to our pensions?

UNISON and UCU would like to invite all staff and students to the following open meetings to explain:

“What are the proposed changes to our pension schemes – why are the unions striking?”

Wednesday 16 November 2011
Room: TG-30, ‘Henry Thomas Room’

Thursday 17 November 2011
Room: JSM-34 (Jewry Street Lecture Theatre)

The government has proposed significant changes to public sector pension schemes that London Met staff are members of (LGPS/ LPFA, USS and TPS). The government want us to pay more, work longer and get less.

Public sector unions (including UNISON and UCU) are in dispute with the government over these detrimental (and in our view unnecessary) changes and, after balloting all relevant members, announced the first day of strike action on 30th November.

Come to these open meetings (all welcome) for up to date info and find out how this will affect YOU…

For more info, contact:

or go here:

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UNISON - Fighting for decent pensions

UNISON members will be taking action on 30 November to defend their pensions, after they voted overwhelmingly to join the TUC co-ordinated day of action .

Pressure from UNISON, including the ballot of more than a million members, has seen the government move significantly from its original proposals.

But at the moment, all the government has spelled out is outline principles - there are no detailed offers for the different public service pension schemes that members can make a decision on.

UNISON will continue to negotiate on our members' behalf right up until 30 November and we will consult members when any firm offer is received.

Until we have a firm offer, we need to keep up the pressure and proceed with our plans for action on 30 November alongside other public sector unions and the TUC.

Resources and information to help your branch plan for action are available on these pages.

Your pension is under attack - join us in defending it.

Pensions: busting the myths
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Sunday, 6 November 2011


On Wednesday 9th November, thousands of students from all over the country will march through London against the government’s plans for universities.

Assemble: 12 noon at the University of London Union (ULU) on Malet Street

See the Facebook event here:
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Saturday, 11 June 2011

London Met Sounds of Resistance: March against the Privatisation of Education!

Wednesday 22nd June

Join London Met students and staff in our fight against massive job cuts and course closures. There are currently plans to cut 70% of courses – including Performing Arts, History, Caribbean Studies and Philosophy – and we already have 200 proposed compulsory redundancies in motion.

What is happening at London Met is a sign of what is going on in all our public services: mass privatisa…tion.

And these cuts are the tip of the iceberg at London Met: if we accept these we will see them coming back for more and more.

Say ‘no’ to job cuts, course cuts and massively reduced and restricted provision of services to students.

Say ‘Yes’ to Education, work and widening participation.

This is a direct attack on the students, staff and the whole London Met community, and furthermore an attack on the ethos and principles that we hold dear: of widening participation and the value of educational opportunities and the pursuit of critical thinking that universities should provide for all.

We believe that arts and humanities subjects should be for all, not just for those who can afford £18,000 a year at privatised. The fight to save humanities starts at London Met and does not end at the elitist New College of Humanities.

Assemble at 2-3pm to march to London Met Tower Building, Holloway Road

Speakers include:
Mark Serwotka, PCS General secretary
Denise Bertuchi Assistant National Officer, UNISON Education and Children's Services
Mark Campbell, UCU NEC
Max Watson, Unison NEC
Clare Soloman, ULU President
Mark Burgfield NUS NEC
Claire Locke, London Met SU
and others to be confirmed

Sounds of Resistance:
* Live MCs
* Samba Band
* London Met Performing Arts
* London Met Cheerleaders
* T-shirt painting
* Banner/placard Making

See the Facebook event
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Sunday, 8 May 2011

Friday, 6 May 2011

We are London Met, not Easy Met!

In April 2011 London Metropolitan University announced the closure of 70% of its courses, including Performing Arts, History, Caribbean Studies and Philosophy.

This proposal to massively reduce and restrict provision is a direct attack on the students, staff and the whole London Met community, and represents an attack on widening participation and the value of educational opportunities and the pursuit of critical thinking that universities should provide for all.

For more information about the campaign to save London Met, please visit: and

Sign the petition here:

The announcement by London Met University to slash 70 percent of its courses is a direct attack on the students, staff and the whole London Met community, and furthermore an attack on the ethos and principles that we hold dear: of widening participation and the value of educational opportunities and the pursuit of critical thinking that universities should provide for all.

These unprecedented cuts stem from a government whose cabinet is comprised of millionaires who were nearly all Arts and Humanities students who received their university degrees for free, paid for by the state.

Yet London Met students from non-traditionally academic backgrounds are being told that Arts and Humanities subjects do not help to ‘build careers’.

Professor (of Music) and Vice Chancellor of the University Malcolm Gillies has done very well so far in his career. Peter McCaffery, newly appointed Deputy Vice Chancellor studied History, yet his vision for London Met is one that has no history.

Philosophy too will be chopped, deemed unprofitable. The British Philosophical Association Director, Helen Beebee, has said recently:

“Philosophy has been taught in universities for over 900 years. It addresses questions that continue to be central to our understanding of the world and our place within it. The core aim of any self-respecting university should be the pursuit of knowledge; but philosophy is unique in addressing the question of what knowledge itself is.”

Arguing against the closure of Philosophy at Greenwich University, Beebee contends that the subject should be available as widely as possible:

“The new universities [...] play a vital role in this. They have broad access to parts of the community where the appeal of the ‘old’ universities is very limited; moreover, philosophy is a subject that can be studied from a wide variety of educational backgrounds.”

These attacks amount to telling working class and poor students that these subjects are ‘not for the likes of you’, and we reject this absolutely. In making these cuts, London Met management are publicly embracing government policies singling out the arts, humanities and social sciences for attack.

We believe the government’s attacks on education should be resisted, not embraced. We believe that higher education should provide working class and non-traditional students with a full range of well resourced, appropriately taught and supported academic courses, rather than a narrow set of under-resourced and 'cheaply' delivered so-called 'vocational' degrees.

We don’t believe in a ‘No-Frills’ education, provided on the cheap, with buildings but no staff. We are London Met, not EasyMet!

We believe fundamentally that higher education is a public good that benefits the whole of society as well as that of the wider economy. We further believe that universities should be run democratically as local community academic assets - with full student, staff, and community involvement. We do not accept the argument that you can have 'too many' people educated to degree level, or that we should ration educational opportunity to a minority that believe they can financially afford it.

The fight to defend publicly-funded HE is not over and we do not accept the defeatism of the University’s management over fees and provision – it is a local and national struggle.

We therefore resolve to do everything in our power to fight these cuts, including as appropriate, lawful industrial action, protests, and demonstrations – we will do everything in our hands to stop this educational vandalism. We will continue to campaign for free higher education open to all and call on the whole community to sign up to this statement.

Max Watson, London Met UNISON Chair, & NEC
Mark Campbell, London Met UCU Chair, & NEC
Claire Locke, METSU President-elect
Cliff Snaith, London Met UCU Secretary
Allan Pike, London Met UNISON Branch Secretary
Mary Davis, TUC Women’s Committee, ex-London Met UCU
Paul Mackney, NATFHE General Secretary/ UCU (1997-2007)
Jeremy Corbyn MP, Islington North
Sian Moore, UCU, WLRI Reader in Industrial Relations
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Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Student Union Response to London Met Transformation

The proposal to cut 70 per cent of the Undergraduate portfolio at London Metropolitan University (London Met) will have a huge impact on the past, present and future students of London Met. The proposed reduction in courses coupled with the budget fee levels put forward by the university could mean that London Met is perceived to be the no frills university as it will provide a bare minimum of services and resources to its students. This would be disastrous to London Met students in terms of how the value of their degree is perceived by both the university and industry sector. This would also have an adverse impact on the London Met student experience.

Many of the areas affected by the proposed cuts at London Met not only have a high intake of students, but also achieve high scores in many surveys that reflect student satisfaction. The Students’ Union would like detailed information about what will happen to the existing students whose courses are deleted as the proposal to transfer students to other universities was put forward as an option on the Undergraduate Review Board.

Along with the recent proposed course reduction, London Met will be closing the Learning Development Unit, which is an area of excellence, the Writing Centre, a service that not only provides students with learning support but also employs London Met students who will now have to find alternative employment to support their studies.

London Met currently has contracts with external providers for cleaning, security, catering and maintenance. There have been recent proposals to outsource the Print Centre and the Disability and Dyslexia Service. The Students' Union would like to know whether the university has plans to outsource any of the other internal university services to private companies during the reshaping of the university. The history of outsourcing services at London Met has not had a positive impact on the university. This has even been acknowledged by senior members of the university.

The Students' Union believes that this transformation of the university is in direct contradiction to the ethos of London met. We change lives and of this we are proud. Many of the students who will be affected are single parents and come from the most deprived areas of London. We enable people to develop and progress towards their future. We are commended on the high standard of teaching as reflected in both the National Student Survey and the Opinion Panel. The Students’ Union would like to formally request access to the equality impact assessment.

The Students' Union has deep concerns over the future of the university. What will the university be able to offer students in terms of service, support, choice and quality? And how much will the London Met degree really be worth?

The Students' Union does not accept this transformation as necessary. Furthermore, we will actively support our students who will be directly and indirectly affected by these damaging plans.
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Sunday, 17 April 2011

Call for an emergency Board of Governors meeting regarding course closures

We the undersigned call on Clive Jones, as Chair of the London
Metropolitan University Board of Governors, to invoke an emergency
all-Governors' meeting.

The role of the Board of Governors is not (and never should have been) to "rubber-stamp" the decisions of the Executive (we thought those days had gone). It does include overseeing the Executive and ensuring the appropriate use of funds.

As stated in the draft minutes of the Board of Governors' meeting on 16 March, the meeting of Academic Board held on Thursday 14 April was "to approve proposals on undergraduate courses and tuition fees to underpin the submission of the Access Agreement to OFFA on 19 April."

It was agreed that "a small group of Governors would be convened for one meeting to approve the final proposals on behalf of the Board". It was surely not envisaged that "proposals on undergraduate courses" would imply slashing the undergraduate course provision to such a savage extent. Cuts of this severity cannot be left to a sub-committee of the Board of Governors as these entail a major change in strategy and policy.

No financial justification for these cuts has been put forward. The severe reduction in the undergraduate portfolio leaves London Metropolitan University vulnerable to takeover and asset stripping from competitor institutions (where higher tuition fees are being proposed than at London Met).

We call on the Board of Governors to meet immediately to demand an explanation from the VC and the London Met Executive's proposal for undergraduate provision, and to ensure the survival of the university by its reversal.

The Governors are accountable to the wider community of London Met. Given the previous history of governance at London Met, this Board of Governors has a unique imperative to listen to and respond to that community, and address their very real and serious concerns. It is vital that the Board of Governors insists that the University is able to honour the pledge made in the strategic plan: transforming lives, meeting needs, building careers. The current proposals satisfy none of these criteria.

Please call the extraordinary meeting as soon as possible, and in your capacity as Chair suspend immediately the decisions regarding the undergraduate portfolio until the meeting has taken place and inform OFFA accordingly.


Kay Dudman (Elected Staff Governor)
Yeashir Ahmed (President, London Met SU, Student Governor)
Claire Locke (President Elect, London Met SU)
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Thursday, 10 February 2011

Islington Strikes Back!

Some lively local anti-cuts groups are emerging and mobilising in our communities - like IHOOPS, who organised this excellent demo last Saturday, 5th Feb, of over 1,000 people marching against the cuts. Power to the People!

Some selected speeches from the rally at the end, starting with George Binette, of Camden UNISON branch:

... Jeremy Corbyn, MP, Islington North, Labour:

And finally, my favourite, Billie Tomlinson, student occupier from London Met:

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Thursday, 20 January 2011

Lobby the London Met Board of Governors!

Lobby the London Met Board of Governors!

Download the leaflet in English from here.

Y en EspaƱol desde aqui.

- 26th January 2011 -

4.30-5.30pm @ entrance to ‘Tower Building’- 166 Holloway Road, N7

  • London Living Wage!
  • No job cuts!
  • No more outsourcing!

On 26th January, the governing body of London Met University meets to agree our future direction. Staff and students, through our unions, are calling for: the London Living Wage (£7.85) as a minimum for all staff, including cleaners caterer and security guards; no compulsory redundancies, save the Education & Learning Development Units, no more outsourcing & the privatisation of Education (bring our services back in-house).

Join us & show your support—together, we can win!
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