About the network

15 unions worldwide have now signed an international agreement on defending education and employment standards in the context of global marketisation. Together, these unions represent more than half a million tertiary education workers around the world.

The deepening global recession and the cutting back of public provision will only give greater encouragement to a burgeoning private sector, making the international agreement only more relevant and important.

We are now turning this community of over 500,000 academics into something tangible.

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Support the greylisting of London Metropolitan University

Please find below a letter from UCU’s General Secretary Sally Hunt to all signatories of the international agreement and a request for your help.

Jonathan

Dear colleague

Support the “Greylisting” of London Metropolitan University

UCU has instituted the greylisting of London Metropolitan University in protest at plans to  cut 550 jobs.

This means that we are asking UCU members who have professional non-contractual links with the university to cut these relationships until normal industrial relations are resumed. For example, we are requesting that conference and seminar speakers from outside the university cancel their commitments. We are also asking that members across the country contact the Vice Chancellor of London Metropolitan University with a letter of protest.

Support the “Greylisting” of London Metropolitan University

UCU has instituted the greylisting of London Metropolitan University in protest at plans to  cut 550 jobs.

This means that we are asking UCU members who have professional non-contractual links with the university to cut these relationships until normal industrial relations are resumed. For example, we are requesting that conference and seminar speakers from outside the university cancel their commitments. We are also asking that members across the country contact the Vice Chancellor of London Metropolitan University with a letter of protest.

I am writing to ask for your support for this campaign. I would be grateful if you could do two things:

  1. Write a letter of protest to Vice Chancellor Alfred Morris (Alfred.Morris@londonmet.ac.uk ) and please copy all correspondence to Justine Stephens in my office at jstephens@ucu.org.uk
  2. Circulate this letter among your members, asking that if any of them have professional connections with London Metropolitan University, they contact UCU by emailing jstephens@ucu.org.uk

On behalf of our members at London Metropolitan University, thank you for your support.

Sally Hunt
General Secretary, UCU

Background

  • In late 2008, the Higher Education Council in England demanded that London Metropolitan University repay £36 million in funding following the submission of incorrect student completion records. The UK funding system rewards high student recruitment and punishes non-completion. This affects universities which attempt to ‘widen participation’ to working class and ‘non-traditional’ students in particular.
  • London Metropolitan is one of those universities and between 2004 and 2008, it submitted incorrect records that inflated the number of its students who completed their courses.
  • The funding council’s decision to reclaim the money given to London Metropolitan placed it at financial risk. Management’s response was to state that it intended to cut 550 posts. Despite our best efforts over the last 9 months to attempt to persuade the university to enter into formal negotiations to reach a resolution, and a vigorous, nationally and regionally supported branch campaign, including industrial action, the university is forging ahead with the planned compulsory redundancies.
  • The situation at London Metropolitan University is unprecedented in the UK. The Vice Chancellor, Brian Roper resigned in March and a special report into the funding Council’s role in the affair was published last month. After months of public pressure from the academic community, UCU and our sister unions, a consultants firm have been commissioned to undertake an independent inquiry into the situation at London Metropolitan and UCU will be contributing to this inquiry.
  • We are campaigning for a fresh start for London Metropolitan. The staff and the students deserve a new leadership and new, open and productive industrial relations. Yet, in spite of our calls for a suspension of their proposals until after the independent reports have been made public, the management appears dogmatically committed to press on with its plans to make 550 redundancies of which many, we fear, will be compulsory.
  • As a further twist, the right wing think tank Policy Exchange, which is influential among the Conservative Party in the UK has suggested that London Metropolitan could be broken up and sold off to private sector providers.
  • UCU believes that we cannot stand back and allow this university to be destroyed. We cannot stand by and allow hundreds of staff and students pay the price for a catastrophic failure of management and governance.
  • As a union, we must be able to say that it is unacceptable for staff to pay for mismanagement with their jobs and students to suffer huge detriment to their education and we must establish the principle that universities must be accountable for their actions.

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