Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Save London Met University!
I was proud to have been invited to speak at this evening's meeting in support of the campaign to save jobs (and education) at London Metropolitan University.
60 people, including lecturers, support staff, students and local residents gathered to express support for the campaign against the threat of redundancies, marking an important start to a campaign that will grow.
UNISON members at the University are to be balloted for industrial action - and their Branch Secretary, Max Watson, chaired the meeting, which saw excellent contributions from the platform and the floor.
Of particular note were the contributions of students who spoke passionately about the value of London Metropolitan University providing opportunities for working class students and for black and ethnic minority students.
London Met is a resource for London's working class - and a place where determined and dedicated people have fought for years to defend the principle that education should be a benefit for working people, not simply a resource for employers and the labour market.
As Jeremy Corbyn said, addressing the mindset of a senior management who believe in allocating resources to the needs of business, a society which doesn't value poetry has lost its soul. The poetry which was being written this evening has the rythmn of the coming struggle, under any Government, in defence of jobs and public services.
It seems that the senior management at London Met are a sorry bunch who want to "manage out" staff who are "disengaged" (because they are stressed out by years of job cuts and bullied by managers who know the price of everything and the value of nothing).
In a working lifetime in public service I've seen the coming of managers who speak like that. And I've seen them go. The lackeys of power hungry (and greedy) rogues who neither understand nor care for the public service ethos do not generally prevail.
London Met cannot be saved by parsimony, redundancies and retrenchment. That road leads only to the extinction of an educational institution of enduring importance to working class Londoners. As local union activists persuasively argued this evening, only a strategy to grow, improving the student experience by investing in staff to recruit students offers any hope of a future.
Perhaps there are savings to be made from some of the senior managers, who might best contribute to that better future by their own rapid departure...
Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the EE network.