Why Students should support staff on strike! – Message from a Lecturer

“We are calling on as many students as possible to join their lecturers and university staff on the picket lines this Thursday morning. Successful industrial action is now key to maintaining the very existence of London Met as an inclusive and diverse place of higher education. Last week’s strike was well attended but the presence of more students will ensure:

– that the picket lines are places of vibrant and energetic protest

– that your teachers and staff have the all-important proof that they have your support for their action

– that London Met is defended by the active solidarity of students, teachers, and staff united

Thursday is the crucial next step to put the defence of London Met at the forefront of the national fight for education, for public services, and against the Con-Dem assault on us all.”

So, get down to the picket lines on Thursday to show support – we’ll be going around the London Met picket lines as well as other schools and colleges:

– Meet at Holloway Road Tube Station at 8am.

– Bring banners, placards, whistles, music, drums, guitars

– Bring you, your mates and energy!

We will then go to Lincoln’s Inn Fields (near Holborn) to join the UCU/ATL/NUT demo that assembles there at 11.30am.

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Messages of solidarity

To UCU members at London Metropolitan University

I would like to pass on the full support of Barnsley College lecturers to UCU members at London Met. We are currently going through our own battle against redundancies – although nothing like you are faced with – and we know how important solidarity is in keeping up morale. We know that you will get fantastic support from around the whole country because everyone who hears what your management is planning is shocked. I am confident that the determination you have shown over a number of years in fighting back over a wave of different attacks means that you have built up the confidence and resilience to beat back this latest attack.

In solidarity,

Dave Gibson (Barnsley College UCU)



Just a brief message of support from the UCU at Bath Spa University branch. Our hearts are with you on the 22nd as you fight for the survival of your institution and your jobs. There but for grace of God…….

All the best

Chris Jury
UCU At BSU Communications Officer


Greetings, Mark

I was instructed by the City Lit UCU branch meeting last week to send a strong message of support to UCU members at London Met in your fiight against cuts in provision and redundancies. Many of our members have close links to London Met through personal experience or through family members working or studying there.
We wish you strength and stamina throughout the dispute and hope you have success in your actions and negotiations.
Carmel Elwell
branch secretary City Lit UCU

Dear Mark
Message from Greenwich & Bexley TUC!  Keep up the fight!  You and your comrades have been inspirational! Collection on its way.
In solidarity
Greenwich & Bexley Trades Council

As someone who worked in the old Polytechnic of North London and have given
a couple of lectures there in the past few years, I am appalled by the
suggested reductions in staff. What has delighted me about the Metropolitan
on my visits had been the numbers of Black students I saw – I silently
clapped. Universities which attract Black students and run courses which
they find relevant and of interest should be expanded, not contracted.

Marika Sherwood
Hon. Sr. Research Fellow
Institute of Commonwealth Studies
University of London



I hope your strike action at London Metropolitan University today has gone very well.  At the London Passport Office we’re preparing for our strike on 30th June.  With that in mind we wanted to contact you in solidarity.  I am also an alumni of the Uni so appreciate the service provided by staff there.  We are all facing the biggest attacks from government on the public that we have ever faced.  Our services are taking a battering that will take decades to recover from and this will surely damage our communities. 

We applaud you for taking a stand!  We take ours next week – wish us luck!

Jon Bigger
Branch Secretary
London and South, Identity and Passport Service,
Home Office



London Metropolitan University
Save jobs. Save access to Higher Education. Save London Met.
University of Westminster UCU expresses its support and solidarity with colleagues at both London Met in their struggle against the devastating cuts proposed by the Vice Chancellor. These cuts will have the effect of not only throwing staff out of work but will also severely limit access to higher education for working people across London and are destructive and totally unacceptable. UCU Westminster calls upon the VC to withdraw these proposals and engage in constructive talks with staff unions and local communities to save London Metropolitan University.

UCU Co-ordinating Committee.
University of Westminster.


The FEC does not meet until Friday, but I am sure they would want me on their behalf to ask you to pass on to all UCU members at London Met our message of solidarity and our best wishes for a successful day of action, action that you are all taking to protect not only jobs but, as you say, to protect and defend our values and principled beliefs that everyone should have access to the education that meets their needs and aspirations, that access to education should not be about ability to pay for it, that education is a public service, and that we should all, as you in London Met are doing, stand together to vigorously oppose attempts to privatise it.

Regards, Kathy (President Elect and Chair of FEC)

Dear Mark, Cliff and all striking comrades
Greetings and solidarity from Greenwich Community College!  Keep up the fight!  See you on the picket lines and maybe the barricades!
Lynne Chamberlain
Greenwich Community College UCU

Dear Mark

Please convey our enthusiastic solidarity to your Branch at London Met. The
decision to axe around 70% of the courses offered is an insult to the students you serve and the people who work there. It shows what the ConDems really think of educating working-class people. In taking strike action, you are not only fighting for  your members’ jobs but also defending access to higher education for students from working-class backgrounds.

We warmly salute you and your action, and look forward to 30th June when so
many of us will be taking action together.

Together,  we can fight the cuts!

In solidarity,

Pura Ariza
UCU MMU Branch Secretary


Keep in good heart

I would like to offer you all moral support at this difficult time.

All the best,

Viv Pegram

Study Skills Co-ordinator

The City Lit

Message of solidarity with the workers and students of London Metropolitan University from Lambeth College UCU
We wish to send you a message of support and solidarity in your fight against the appalling cuts taking place at London Metropolitan University.
The action by the students to stop the closure of courses and the decision by Unison and UCU workers to ballot for action in defence of education jobs is the right way forward to fight against this government’s attack on education.
At Lambeth College we are facing attacks against education provision and the working conditions of the staff. This is the same situation for colleges and universities across the country.
We must stand united against the attacks on our services by this government of the rich for the rich. We wish you all the best and good luck in your fight against the cuts.
Lambeth College UCU
Best wishes for the strike at London Met from the UCU staff at Richmond Upon thames College.  See you all at the meeting tonight in Euston and certainly at the rally in Lincoln’s Inn Fields on 30th June.

United we stand!!

In solidarity

Dave Carrier – Branch chair


Dear Mark

Best wishes for your strike tomorrow.  I hope members will be really angry when they find out that your employer was not prepared to talk to UCU unless we withdrew the strike action.  For an employer to regard talking to a union as some sort of concession is outrageous.  It really is 19th century mill owner attitudes.

Elizabeth Lawrence – Vice Chair UCU   Higher Education Committee

Please pass on solidarity greetings to those on strike at London Met from WFTUC. Thanks.
In solidarity


Your fight at London Met to save jobs and services is an inspiration. London Met ought to be celebrated and funded accordingly because your institution genuinely widens access to higher education for the whole community.

The best of luck with your campaign.

In solidarity,

Andrew Baisley
Branch Secretary
Camden NUT


Dear London Met UNISON Branch,

Please convey our enthusiastic solidarity to your Branch at London Met. The decision to axe around 70% of the courses offered is an insult to the students you serve and the people who work there. It shows what the ConDems really think of educating working-class people. In taking strike action, you are not only fighting for your members’ jobs but also defending access to higher education for students from working-class backgrounds.

We warmly salute you and your action, and look forward to 30th June when so many of us will be taking action together.

Together, we can fight the cuts!

In solidarity,

Pura Ariza
Branch Secretary
Manchester Metropolitan University UCU


As someone who worked in the old Polytechnic of North London and have given a couple of lectures there in the past few years, I am appalled by the suggested reductions in staff. What has delighted me about the Metropolitan on my visits had been the numbers of Black students I saw – I silently clapped. Universities which attract Black students and run courses which they find relevant and of interest should be expanded, not contracted.

Marika Sherwood
Hon. Sr. Research Fellow (personal capacity)
Institute of Commonwealth Studies UL


Goldsmiths UCU once again congratulates staff and students at London Metropolitan University for their inspiring campaign to stop the assault on jobs and courses at the university. Management’s plan to cut 70 percent of courses and to target humanities provision in particular is shameful and a total capitulation to the distorted market logic being imposed by the government in attempting to privatise the university system.

What your action shows is that staff and students can campaign together to refuse this kind of logic, to stop redundancies and to protect academic provision. So we send you our solidarity and best wishes in supporting access to education for all, in defending jobs and in keeping hold of a vision of education that is not about making profits but serving the public.

Kirsten Forkert
Branch Administrator
Goldsmiths UL UCU


Middlesex University UNISON Branch send a message of support for your strike against job cuts. Keep up the struggle. It is important that we win on this issue.

We are facing around 200 threatened job cuts at Middlesex and are in dispute with the University. We plan to ballot for industrial action shortly.


Jenny Compton-Bishop
Branch Secretary
Middlesex University UNISON


I am writing to offer the full support of our Branch for your action on 22 June.

The attack on London Met is an integral part of a wider attack on education for working class people that will particularly impact on areas like Tower Hamlets.

Your action takes place at a time when the broader resistance to the Tory led coalition’s retrograde policies is growing, especially over the threat to public sector pensions.

We welcomed your support when we took action on 30 March alongside the NUT and would want to offer our solidarity now.

Unfortunately I cannot join you on Wednesday as I will be at UNISON Conference but I will be with you in spirit.

Good luck with your action.

Please let us know of any further assistance we can offer.


John McLoughlin
Branch Secretary
Tower Hamlets UNISON


Dear London Met UNISON and UCU,

We condemn Management’s decision to push through mass course closures and the consequent job losses at London Metropolitan University. Our branch supports the decision to take industrial action and will be looking to send members down to picket lines in a show of practical solidarity. We will also be support any further actions. Your struggle is our struggle.

In solidarity,

Vikhas Chechi
Branch Secretary
Queen Mary UL UNISON


Dear Women’s Library at London Met,

The History of Feminism Network would like to send you our support for the industrial action planned for Wednesday. We have sent the below statement to our email list and website and wanted to let you know that there are many people who have used your collections who are appalled by the proposed cuts at London Met and who are fully behind you.

Best wishes,

History of Feminism Network

Support the Women’s Library Strike!

The Women’s Library is home to world-renowned collections on women’s struggles throughout history and has hosted excellent exhibitions on women workers and female led-strikes. This Wednesday 22nd June 2011 Women’s Library staff will themselves take planned action to ensure that London Met University continues to be a thriving centre for the study of gender and feminism.

London Met Unison and UCU have voted for a one day strike on 22nd June unless the management resolve their dispute over compulsory redundancies (200 announced so far) and the closure of 70% of courses.

These cuts are of concern to all of us working in the fields of feminism and gender studies, across UK higher education institutions. Judging the value of academic disciplines according to narrow definitions of economic viability will particularly discriminate against already marginal subjects. The History BA is among those London Met courses set to close, despite it having long been such an important focus for the study of women’s history and with the Women’s Library hosting this years Women’s History Network Annual Conference.

This is why we want to express our strong support for the Women’s Library staff and everyone at London Met taking industrial action next week.

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London Met Sounds of Resistance: March against the Privatisation of Education!

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Wednesday 22nd June

Join London Met students and staff in our fight against massive job cuts and course closures. There are currently plans to cut 70% of courses – including Performing Arts, History, Caribbean Studies and Philosophy – and we already have 200 proposed compulsory redundancies in motion.

What is happening at London Met is a sign of what is going on in all our public services: mass privatisation.

And these cuts are the tip of the iceberg at London Met: if we accept these we will see them coming back for more and more.

Say ‘no’ to job cuts, course cuts and massively reduced and restricted provision of services to students.

Say ‘Yes’ to Education, work and widening participation.

This is a direct attack on the students, staff and the whole London Met community, and furthermore an attack on the ethos and principles that we hold dear: of widening participation and the value of educational opportunities and the pursuit of critical thinking that universities should provide for all.

We believe that arts and humanities subjects should be for all, not just for those who can afford £18,000 a year at privatised university. The fight to save humanities starts at London Met and does not end at the elitist New College of Humanities.

Assemble at 2-3pm to march to London Met Tower Building, Holloway Road

Speakers include:
Mark Serwotka, PCS General secretary
Denise Bertuchi Assistant National Officer, UNISON Education and Children’s Services
Mark Campbell, UCU NEC
Max Watson, Unison NEC
Clare Soloman, ULU President
Mark Burgfield NUS NEC
Claire Locke, London Met SU
and others to be confirmed

Sounds of Resistance:
* Live MCs
* Samba Band
* London Met Performing Arts
* London Met Cheerleaders
* T-shirt painting
* Banner/placard Making

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London Met Students support staff on strike


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Save London Met – Demonstrate

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Malcolm Gillies turns his back on Music!

Malcolm Gillies, Vice-Chancellor of London Met, who has a degree in both an Art and a Humanity (Classics and Music) decided to turn his back on his first year Performing Arts students this afternoon, as he arrived to open the newly refurbished Library on Holloway Road, who had gathered outside to sing to him.

One student said to Prof Gillies that she had been waiting to speak to him since 9.30am this morning, which was the agreed meeting time. Gillies told the student that he ‘was never going to meet with them anyway’!

This is abhorrant behaviour from Gillies. He remains too scared to speak to the students or staff and would rather hob-nob with his corporate chums than face the people who’s lives will be turned upside-down as a result of his commercial decisions.

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Peaceful occupation evicted by High Court bailiffs and the Police

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Peaceful occupation evicted by Police midnight raid

The entirely peaceful student occupation of the Graduate Centre on the Holloway Road was raided tonight by 16 thugs, including private security guards, 10 bailiffs, 4 police officers and only ONE London Met Security guard, John Hunt.

They forced entry to deliver a high court injunction at about 11.55pm, which was ordered against 5 named individuals and Persons Unknown. It required the defendants to cease their current trespass, or they would be in breach of court and “could be arrested or imprisoned”.

This was massively initmidating and directly victimises students who face transfer to other universities as a result of the cuts. Students were only given 10 minutes to read the order and to leave the premises. The management had got the police involved to intimidate the students and threaten them with arrest, despite this being a civil matter and should not even be on site. The police told the student to “pack up and go” or be arrested.

The students had no time to prepare their defence, read the paperwork OR call lawyers. This is a disgrace and shows Malcolm Gillies (VC) is just as much of a thug as the sexist and racist individuals he has placed inside and outside the occupation, at an alleged cost of £35,000.

The eviction came as a surprise, as Malcolm Gillies had agreed to meet the students tomorrow morning at 9.30am to begin a dialogue about their futures. Clearly this was all false information and proves that his view of ‘consultation’ is that it is worthless. Tonight’s events illustrate how Gillies continues to cowardly refuse to communicate, even though his plans will devastate hundreds of lives.

Worried that they were about to be arrested, the students decided to leave the occupation peacefully, and now face having to find their ways home when public transport is closed.

The fight for our futures is now hanging in the balance. Please join us for a mass lobby of the Board of Governors on Wednesday at 4.30pm in Moorgate, to make a public protest to save London Met, and call for the resignation of Malcolm Gillies. This is disgraceful behaviour and such actions by Management should not be acceptable in a University environment.

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Lobby the London Met Board of Governors


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NO MORE EXTERNAL THUGS – Only London Met Security on site.

We here in the occupation feel we should not have external security, as this is a London Metropolitan internal matter. We feel that the university has a sufficent amount of internal security staff to accomodate this peaceful protest. The reason we would like to make this known is because we have had several incidents of intimidation and hostility from external security staff hired. We also feel that the external security being hired is costing our university thousands of pounds, which is entirely unnecessary as we have been completely compliant and peaceful in our actions. Here following are quotes from occupiers and descriptions of events that have happened during the occupation.

“On the first two nights of the occupation a member of the external security staff played music constantly throughout the night.” Which disturbed our sleeping hours.

In the early hours of the morning a group of security guards ganged up on a female occupier, saying various intimidating things, one of which was “If I want to get through the door, I can. And two little girls aren’t going to stop me.” We feel this comment was sexist, intimidating and that occupiers should not have to deal with this type of verbal aggression and discrimination.

“At 8:30 this morning, the door was violently kicked several times, which caused major panic and disturbance in the occupation, as we immediately thought there was an emergency. We ran to the door and found the security were doing this for their own entertainment.” We also feel that this action, as well as causing distress and intimidation, could have caused damage to the university property.

“While within the timeframe of free access in and out, on Saturday, I was returning from the meeting at the Rocket. I showed my student ID to the external security staff in order to get back into the Occupation (as previously agreed). He responded by asking to see it again and as I went to show it, he snatched it from my hand and refused to give it back. I asked again and took it, which follwed in him threatening not to allow me access again.”

“External security have broken the agreement that they are not permitted within the space of the Occupation, by stepping in and taking down posters on the inside of the doors.”

We feel that the security is excessively aggressive when we have given no provocation. And would also like to hightlight the fact that we have agreed that only LondonMet students and staff would occupy the space; and the occupation should therefore only be dealt with directly by LondonMet security staff.

– OCCUPIERS, LondonMet

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