More than 250 UNISON members working at London Metropolitan University are striking today (Friday) after the university’s continuing financial issues left staff facing the threat of compulsory redundancy.
This follows two successful strike days last month, and action short of a strike.
Today’s walk out will be followed by continuous action short of strike, which will include a ban on overtime working, not working outside contracted hours, and not covering for leave, sickness or the training of colleagues.
London Met proposed 165 job cuts, claiming that costs needed to be reduced after student numbers fell substantially. UNISON has successfully negotiated the number of members facing compulsory redundancy down to just three.
However, one of the remaining three is UNISON branch secretary Max Watson.
UNISON is extremely concerned that Mr Watson has been targeted in this way.
A longstanding activist and staunch defender of members’ interests, he is the only member of staff in his whole faculty being made redundant. UNISON believes management is using this round of redundancies to deliberately target Mr Watson, and has called on it to withdraw the notice of dismissal and stop the victimisation of UNISON representatives.
General secretary Dave Prentis said, in a message of support: “We all know that Max has been a redoubtable defender of UNISON members and that, without his work, many members would have lost their jobs as the university has sought to privatise and cut back, over the years.
“UNISON will do all it can to defend our members jobs.”
Staff will be on picket lines from 7.30am at the university’s main entrances – Tower Building Holloway Road, Graduate Centre, The Rocket (Great Hall), Harglenis Building and Learning Centre.
A strike rally will take place between 12 and 2pm at the Tower Building, 166-220 Holloway Road, London N7 8DB.