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From The Socialist newspaper, 25 May 2011

Interview:

"We are London Met Uni, not EasyMet"

UCU  members on strike at London Met university in 2009 say No Job Cuts, Save our staff, and Education not for sale , photo Paul Mattsson

UCU members on strike at London Met university in 2009 say No Job Cuts, Save our staff, and Education not for sale , photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

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.

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In The Socialist 25 May 2011:


What we think

Weak and unpopular coalition can be defeated


Anti-cuts campaigning

National shop stewards conference - Unite to stop the cuts

As the cost of living soars...: 'We are going to fight back'!

An offer we must refuse

Why Liverpool needs a needs budget

Showing an alternative to cuts in Dorset


Defending the NHS

Battling to defend the NHS

NHS demo in London needs to be a step towards united national strike action

Unison leaders failing to adopt the demands of health workers

Challenging Tories' plans to kill our health service


Socialist Party workplace news

PCS conference: developing strategies for struggle

UCU facing battles on all fronts

Southampton city council workers strike

Three day strike to stop redundancies at Sheffield College

Firefighters discuss strategy to fight cuts

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

"We are London Met Uni, not EasyMet"

Atos Origin - profiting from pain

'Slutwalk' protests: Women reject sexism

Slave labour schemes must be resisted


Reviews and comments

Leadership failed print workers in vital battle

Review: The street that cut everything


Socialist Party news and analysis

McNulty's railway report: not 'value for money'!

Care homes privatisation hits the elderly

News in brief


International socialist news and analysis

Eyewitness report: Mass youth protests in Spain

Ireland: 'Reclaim the unions'

Greece: Resist bosses' agenda and the far right


 

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