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 The Working Lives Research Institute, which includes the Centre for Trade Union Studies, has been decimated, its outdated website still boasting of the Women’s Library that was packed off to the London School of Economics long ago.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

Fully-funded Studentships In Social Sciences NOTTINGHAM TRENT UNIVERSITY (NTU)
Fully-funded Studentships In Science and Technology NOTTINGHAM TRENT UNIVERSITY (NTU)
Fully-funded Studentships within Nottingham Law School NOTTINGHAM TRENT UNIVERSITY (NTU)
Fully-funded Studentships In Arts and Humanities NOTTINGHAM TRENT UNIVERSITY (NTU)

Most Commented

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

Microlight pilot flies with flock of cranes

Reports of UK-based researchers already thinking of moving overseas after Brexit vote

Portrait montage of Donald Trump and Nigel Farage

From Donald Trump to Brexit, John Morgan considers the challenges of a new international political climate