London Metropolitan University has lifted 5-week suspension orders against UNISON chair Max Watson, WLRI Professor Steve Jeffreys and colleague Jawad Botmeh

Tim Lezard

London metA high-profile UNISON campaign over the suspension of anti-privatisation activists at London Metropolitan University has secured a victory, after the authorities reinstated branch chair Max Watson and staff rep on the board of governors, Jawad Botmeh.

A short time ago, UnionNews learned that their colleague, Professor Steve Jeffreys, has also been reinstated.

Max Watson received confirmation this morning that a 5-week suspension from his post as administrator at the Working Lives Research Institute had been lifted ‘with immediate effect’.

Jawad Botmeh received news on Monday that his suspension had also been lifted.

Professor Jeffreys was suspended on 20 February for ‘potential gross misconduct’ over the appointment five years ago of Jawad Botmeh as an administrator at the Institute.

Jawad Botmeh had served 13 years on a conspiracy charge related to the 1994 bombing of the Israeli embassy in London.

Max Watson told UnionNews: “The last 5 weeks have been absolute hell, but the campaign has been really inspiring.

“I have been overwhelmed and humbled by the support of trade union colleagues. I am very proud to be chair of the London Met UNISON branch.

“Our reinstatement shows that we do not have to accept what we are told is inevitable. When we fight back we can win – this is a victory for trade unionists everywhere.”

Max Watson had been recently singled out by London Met’s Vice-Chancellor in an all staff email because of UNISON’s opposition to £74m plans to privatise office administration and other university services to the outsourcing giant, Capita.

Today’s developments follow what activists described as a ‘very inspiring’ branch AGM yesterday, at which both Max Watson and Jawad Botmeh spoke of how the solidarity of campaigners had made their reinstatement possible.

 You can watch a film report on the campaign here:


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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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