UNISON members at London Metropolitan University took strike action yesterday 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 Prentis. It is a campaign that ‘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.
Prentis 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’. Prentis pledged that ‘Unison will do all it can to defend our members’ jobs . . . I wish you all the best with your strike today.’
London Met Unison branch secretary Max Watson told News Line: ‘We have given them a bloody nose. It is the best strike ever! The strike has been solid, it is the best supported strike in years. There are nearly 300 members involved in the dispute. Two of the university libraries were shut down, no internal post was delivered.’