Actions belie words

May 26, 2016

Among the values espoused in London Metropolitan University’s strategic plan are those of openness and accountability. The fact that management have wheeled out an anonymous spokesman to deny that union officers (us) are being treated unfairly is emblematic of their failure to live the values they expect everyone else to display (“Cull of London Met UCU pair sparks ‘union victimisation’ claim”, News, 19 May).

In line with this behaviour, the Faculty of Life Sciences and Computing, where we are both based, has implemented an opaque redundancy process. The dean ignored every suggestion made during the consultation period, was unclear as to what criteria people were being assessed against, and redundancies were based on subjective comments rather than quantified criteria. He refused to release anonymised data from the first stage of a two-stage process, although a leaked spreadsheet of scores reveals errors.

Colleagues will be astonished at the anonymous spokesman’s claims of pro-union credentials. London Met may host the Trade Union Congress collection, but studies in the area were closed to new recruitment some time back. The Working Lives Research Institute, which includes the Centre for Trade Union Studies, has been decimated, its outdated website still boasting of the Women’s Library that was packed off to the London School of Economics long ago.

Management exploits anti-union legislation by offering only the statutory minimum consultation period for redundancies and statutory minimum compulsory redundancy pay. Staff do have the option of “volunteering” for enhanced (double) redundancy pay, as long as they sign the “settlement agreement” whereby they agree to never utter “any derogatory or critical or disparaging remarks, comments or statements (whether orally or in writing) about the University, its officers, employees and/or ex-employees”, or to even acknowledge that such an agreement exists.

University management should stop spinning and start negotiating.

Mark Campbell, London Metropolitan University UCU (chair)
David Hardman, London Metropolitan University UCU (secretary/health and safety officer)

Send to

Letters should be sent to:
Letters for publication in Times Higher Education should arrive by 9am Monday.
View terms and conditions.

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Lecturer/Assistant Professor of Psychology UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN (UCD)
Lecturer/Assistant Professor of Geography UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN (UCD)
Lecturer/Assistant Professor of Economics UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN (UCD)
Lecturer/Assistant Professor (BDIC) UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN (UCD)
Lecturer/Assistant Professor in Social Work UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN (UCD)

Most Commented

Home secretary says government will support 'best' universities

Man handing microphone to audience member

Academic attainment of disadvantaged students can be improved if they can decide how they are assessed, study claims

Woman drinking tea from saucer

Plugging a multibillion-pound deficit exacerbated by June’s poll result may require ‘drastic measures’, analysts have warned

Italy's gold medallist

New measures to ensure universities are ‘not penalised’ for taking poorer students also outlined for next stage of TEF

Classroom, school

Higher education institutions can and should do more to influence education at a secondary school level, says Edward Peck