UNISON members at London Metropolitan University are taking strike action today (Friday) in the latest round of their struggle against job cuts, as the employer included the branch secretary on the list of three people it wants to make redundant.
And as the staff – including administrators, IT and media technicians and library staff – walked out, general secretary Dave Prentis called on the university to withdraw the redundancy notices and get back to work.
“Our London Metropolitan University branch is to be congratulated on its strong campaign to defend members,” said Mr Prentis.
It is a campaign “has already successfully reduced the numbers of members threatened with redundancy”.
The dispute came about after the university’s finances were thought to have stabilised. Earlier this year, management had said that falling student numbers meant that 165 job cuts were required.
Mr Prentis added: “UNISON members make universities work. Without your work, London Metropolitan University could not function. We ensure staff are safe, fed, provided with resources and information and given technical support.
“At a time when the government is taking the cap off student numbers and encouraging more people into higher education, what sort of institution looks to cut back on vital staff?”
He described as “deplorable” the university’s decision to continue with three redundancies – not least, that of “our hard-working, strong-campaigning branch secretary Max Watson”.
“We know from our struggles over the years that, when employers are threatened, they try to take out our leaders.
“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.”
And Mr Prentis pledged that “UNISON will do all it can to defend our members’ jobs … I wish you all the best with your strike today.”