Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/672/12106
"We are London Met Uni, not EasyMet"
In April 2011 London Metropolitan University announced the closure of 70% of its courses, since then a joint campaign by staff and students has been fighting to defend the university. Pete Dickenson recently interviewed Max Watson, chairperson London Met University Unison branch.
Is it clear yet what the proposed course closures will mean for jobs?
It is clear that there will be large-scale job cuts, yes, both academic and support staff. In addition to the expected large-scale cutting of teaching jobs, we've also just had a redundancy notice informing us they intend to cut 86 support staff and this is just the beginning. We anticipate many, many more in the pipeline.
What action has been taken so far to fight the closures?
We've had protests, lobbies and we've just launched a community-based, cross-union campaign, called 'We are London Met - education not privatisation'. You can pledge to support us by signing our petition called 'We are London Met not EasyMet': http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/support-london-metropolitan-university.html
The unions are in an official dispute, Unison has held an indicative ballot for industrial action, with a 64% yes vote to fight compulsory redundancies.
And we have now just announced a ballot for industrial action, in which we predict a high yes vote, coordinated by both Unison and lecturers' union UCU which will open from late May and close in early June.
How close is the cooperation with the other campus unions?
We have very good relations with the other unions. We have regular coordinating meetings with the UCU, and with the student union. Also, support from the local community and other unions has been good - especially through our local anti-cuts committees.
What do you think it will take to successfully fight these attacks?
We will do everything necessary to win. The vice-chancellor has shown he has no interest in the education of working class students in London.
It will probably take more than threatening one day's strike action to win this dispute, and whilst we are hoping of course that the management will back down before it reaches that stage, we are not going to give up without a fight. We'll need all the support we can get.
In The Socialist 25 May 2011:
What we think
Defending the NHS
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Reviews and comments
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis