UCU members say making more cuts is a “misguided strategy”

London Metropolitan UniversityStaff at London Metropolitan University have voted to strike in protest over 165 job cuts.

Two thirds (67%) of UCU members at the north London university voted ‘yes’ to strike action, while 71% supported action short of a strike.

They will meet tomorrow (Tuesday) to discuss the next steps including strike action over the proposed job losses which will include academic and professional support staff. UNISON members have taken part in a separate ballot which is due to close on Friday, May 22nd.

Staff and students are also set to lobby London Metropolitan University’s board of governors tomorrow from 4.30-6pm at Central House, 59-63 Whitechapel High Street, E1 7PF. They are calling on the university’s governors to work with them to develop an alternative plan to help to grow the university to secure its future.

A petition against the job cuts has already received widespread support from signatories including politicians, union leaders, staff and students.

Campaigners have highlighted that the university has an exceptionally strong record in providing educational opportunities for some of the most disadvantaged groups in society. In 2012/13, half (50%) of its students were from minority ethnic communities, compared to just 16% of university students nationally. Just over half (52%) of London Metropolitan’s full time undergraduate entrants that year were mature, compared to a quarter (23%) nationally. Half (51%) of London Metropolitan University’s undergraduate entrants in 2012/13 were from the bottom four socio-economic groups, compared to just a third (33%) nationally.

UCU regional official Barry Jones said: ‘Our ballot result shows that many staff firmly believe making more cuts is the wrong direction for London Metropolitan University. This is an inner-city university with an outstanding record of bringing people from disadvantaged backgrounds into higher education. Far from further cutbacks, this university is in desperate need of investment to expand access to education.

“We urgently call upon the university’s leaders to turn away from a misguided strategy of shrinkage and job cuts and work with us to develop a plan that gives the university the best chance of survival and to thrive in the future. Nobody wants to be on strike and we remain open to sitting down to explore a better way forward than these job losses.”

 


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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