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London Met Uni staff deserve our solidarity

October 14, 2009

Londonmet

BY COUNCILLOR ABJOL MIAH

It is never easy when those entrusted to teach decide on industrial action. That was the choice I saw made recently by staff at Tower Hamlets College, who faced with cuts and job losses walked out for weeks until the College management finally conceded their demands. In the meantime, students lost out on classes, yet the staff action was supported by a huge number of the students and their families, who saw that their teachers were acting for the long term good of the community.

So it is again at London Metropolitan University. The parallels are startling. Before a report on longstanding financial mismanagement at the University is even unveiled, management have announced several hundred redundancies. They have refused to reveal who exactly is threatened, or meet with staff unions UCU and Unison to discuss the situation. Faced with this completely unreasonable behaviour, the unions have teamed up to launch strike action this Thursday and Friday.

To make matters worse these proposals come on top of crippling job losses last year, which have severely worsened the ability of London Met to manage its administrative functions. University bosses seem to me to be embarking on a ‘slash and burn’ policy of cost-cutting without thought for the needs of staff, students and the local community in East London, which disproportionately benefits from the qualifications and skills that London Met offers.

London Met seems to think they cannot afford to keep vital staff. Well I believe they can’t afford to show them the door. Cutting staff numbers further would weaken the University’s ability to perform core functions, contribute to local unemployment and damage the quality of education available to local people. During a recession, such a strategy is even more dangerous.

That is why I and fellow Respect councillors will be vigorously campaigning alongside staff to defend jobs and education at London Met. I hope you will join us.

Find out more about the action and what you can do to help at the Save London Met blog

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