London Region UCU notes the continuing assault on staff at London Metropolitan University. Nearly a hundred posts were cut in the spring, with David Hardman and Mark Campbell – the UCU CoCom Secretary and Chair – deliberately and unfairly targeted for compulsory redundancy. Their dismissal paved the way for another 395 staff cuts and a restructuring that undermines contractual terms and conditions. No meaningful consultation with UCU has taken place.
The remaining staff, already stressed, are having excessive workloads imposed to cover the teaching. Many people are being asked to teach topics they know little or nothing about. More zero hours staff are being employed.
We note that following an 86% indicative ballot, the branch started the formal request for greylisting to begin in August, pending their industrial action ballot. With the strike on 29 September, the branch has now met the requirements under the policy for initiating greylisting. The branch has also support from Congress for a status as a local dispute of national significance.
If further evidence of this significance were needed, we can look elsewhere. Coventry University is attempting to set up an arms-length company employing lecturers on zero-hour and agency worker contracts. Hull College is attempting to victimise UCU President Rob Goodfellow in a manner that parallels the treatment of Mark and David.
London Met is at the sharp end of a race to the bottom in employment conditions. Greylisting is necessarily a selective tool, but failing to use it against London Met would give confidence to employers elsewhere.
London Region UCU believes therefore that the union must immediately initiate the greylisting procedure, informing the VC of London Met that we will carry it out, and formally triggering the action at the HEC of the 14 October.
London Region UCU resolves:
- to write to the HEC and forward this motion;
- to write to the London Met UCU branch to express our solidarity;
- to write to all London Region branches to ask them to be ready for further solidarity actions, including greylisting, when these are called.