London Met labels threat of union to censure it as ‘astonishing’

London and College Union members Mark Campbell and Dr David Hardman were dismissed from their roles

London and College Union members Mark Campbell and Dr David Hardman were dismissed from their roles as lecturers at London Metropolitan University in July. - Credit: Archant

London Metropolitan University has labelled the threat of a union to censure it as “astonishing”.

Last week the University and College Union revealed that it could “greylist” the institute following an ongoing dispute over staff redundancies and the institute’s £125million restructuring programme.

The university announced in July its plans to cut almost 400 staff jobs, shut down its two centres in Whitechapel and Moorgate and redesign its main campus in Holloway Road.

Union member Dr David Hardman, a lecturer at London Met who was dismissed in July, said: “We have no doubt that London Met management removed us precisely because they knew we would oppose the mass job cuts they are now attempting to push through and attacks on staff conditions of service.

“Predictably, we are now receiving reports from staff who are stressed because of the unmanageable workloads imposed upon them, sometimes to the point of being made physically unwell.”

The university responded by saying that the “regressive” attack on its reputation will go against the interest of the union’s members.

“We do not anticipate much material impact from this action,” a university spokesman said.

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“The wellbeing of our staff is of vital importance to us, which is why we have created a new structure to enable better processes to reduce stress and have significantly increased our investment in personal and professional development.”

The university also dismissed as “baseless” claims that two of the union’s key negotiators, Dr Hardman and fellow lecturer Mark Campbell, were victimised ahead of their dismissal in July.

“While we understand why UCU may prefer other members of staff to be made redundant instead of their members, we are committed to making such difficult but necessary decisions fairly and through correct and legal processes,” a university spokesman added.

“Union members are not at greater risk of redundancy nor are they exempt from it. We refute UCU’s disingenuous claims in the strongest possible terms.”

The union has said that if it does not receive a satisfactory response to its issues it will declare “a full international academic boycott of the institution”.

Yaz Djebbour, chairman of London Met’s branch of the UCU, said: “None of us want to be in this position.

“The management can avoid further escalation by reinstating our reps, suspending the programme of cuts and associated redundancies, the imposition of unmanageable workload and return to the negotiating table in good faith.”