Responding to Amber Rudd: Free Movement of Labour

Dear colleagues,

At tonight’s meeting (06.10.2016) of the London Met UCU Coordinating Committee we unanimously agreed to put the following motion (based on one recently passed by Goldsmith University UCU, and to be debated at other universities) to our next all member branch meetings scheduled for the last week of October (further details to follow).

London Metropolitan UCU Coordinating Committee

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FREE MOVEMENT OF LABOUR IN HIGHER EDUCATION

London Met UCU condemns in the strongest possible terms the proposal by home secretary Amber Rudd to restrict the entry of international students to ‘top’ universities and to introduce labour market tests aimed at reducing the numbers of international staff.

UK universities depend on international students and staff not just in economic terms but in their very mission: to serve as spaces that are open to all people regardless of nationality and background. As such, the home secretary’s proposals are both nonsensical and racist.

The linking of student immigration rules to the government’s determination to further stratify higher education is especially pernicious. It is designed to maximise competition between HE providers and to blame ‘foreigners’ for the underinvestment and cuts for which they are not responsible.

These proposals come in the light of the recent vote to leave the EU that has endangered the existing free movement of labour within the European Economic Area (EEA). If this is ended, EEA staff will be drawn under the Points-Based Immigration Scheme, meaning that they will be subject to the same continual visa restrictions, employer-sponsorship arrangements, etc., that our international colleagues face. Similar barriers will likely be placed on UK nationals living in or moving to the EEA.

London Met UCU believes that ending freedom of movement of labour would represent a significant worsening of the conditions of present and future EEA staff in the UK. Any restrictions on freedom of movement of labour, and our right to work without discrimination based on nationality, will put increasing competitive pressure on EEA staff, and thus affect staff as a whole and weaken our union.

London Met UCU resolves urgently to campaign for the following:

– No upper limits on the numbers of international students who wish to come to the UK and to study at universities of their choice

– the immediate removal of international students from net migration targets

– the free movement of labour and opposition to the Points-Based Immigration Scheme

– an up-front guarantee for existing EU/EEA citizens in the UK to stay here

– protection for EU research funding and EU students

– full recognition of workers’ rights throughout EU withdrawal negotiations

London Met UCU further resolves

– to publicise the fact that this motion has been passed and encourage other UCU branches to do likewise

– to submit this motion, when passed, to the NEC of the UCU

-to liaise with other branches regarding submitting a version of this motion to UCU Congress 2017

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London Met UCU will also have delegates attending this weekend’s important Stand Up to Racism  (SUTR) Conference where UCU General Secretary, Sally Hunt will be speaking.

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This is a major national conference bringing together speakers, organisations and activists from anti-racist campaigns across Europe. The conference will examine the current struggle against racism in Britain and beyond such as the fight against Islamophobia and antisemitism, defending civil liberties and migrants rights and building solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in the US.

The humanitarian crisis in Europe will also be discussed with the intention of developing an action plan for activists and organisations who want to campaign for more to be done for refugees.

We encourage as many of our members to join us and attend this important conference at this critical time for all staff and students.

Please register via: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/confronting-the-rise-in-racism-stand-up-to-racism-national-conference-2016-tickets-26640628838

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