Education not privatisation – UNISON members say NO to ‘Shared Services’, outsourcing through the back door (photo (c) David Hardman – use with permission only).
Members of UNISON yesterday launched a new campaign against the current Shared Services proposals at London Met.
Launching the campaign with a series of emails to the Vice Chancellor in which members collectively stated:
“I am ‘Proud to be London Met’ but the current proposals for Shared Services mean I will ‘Not allowed to be London Met’ – I will have a different employer. This is not just a problematic marketing point but an important change in my contract of employment which I refuse to accept.”
See the full letter here: http://www.londonmetunison.org.uk/campaigns/proud/
Members have been appalled to learn that five large multinational companies are bidding for a multimillion pound contract to ‘redesign’ the support service functions of the university and ‘explore’ a shared services model via a new company. Job cuts are inevitable as a result.
The union is currently considering various legal challenges and other avenues, and have presented detailed questions and alternative proposals by commissioning the Association of Public Service Excellence (APSE). The alternative, to keep all staff in house, has so far been ruled out by management, during infuriatingly fruitless talks.
The decision of the members to resist the latest attack was greeted with energy and enthusiasm: “I’m not a militant or a radical,” said Anthony, who had not previously been active in the union until now, “but I’ve had enough!”
Following a ‘flashmob’ photo shoot, members covered up the Marketing slogan at the entrance of the Tower Building which reads ‘Proud to be…’ to instead spell out, ‘Not Allowed to be London Met’ (see photo). Daphne, who works in Libraries said: “I felt inspired by the action we took today, and it made me feel there IS something I can do.” No-one she had spoken to is enthusiastic about outsourcing companies taking control of their department, nor any other part of the university, she added.
Megan also works in Libraries agreed, and expressed how appalled members were to learn of the current mismanagement of the university:
“After the recent HEFCE fine (of £6M) after over recruiting, I lost all confidence in Gillies – how can we believe this latest adventure will not fail too?”
Catherine Maguire, Branch Secretary, said:
“This campaign is about members making a stand for our right to remain part of London Met – we have chosen to make this our number one campaign at London Met.” Encouraging members to get involved in and to put aside their despondency, she reminded staff: “When you fight back, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. If you don’t fight back, you always lose!”
Max Watson, Chair, said:
“Management have selected five multinationals all with an interest in profiteering out of public services by outsourcing and off-shoring. The only other thing they have in common is they appear to have absolutely no interest in education whatsoever.
“We pledge to do all we can to stop sharks getting their teeth into our jobs, terms and conditions, and from letting them begin the privatisation of the university as we know it. Today was just the beginning of our campaign for our members to stay London Met.”
Students, academics and the wider community have shown support for the campaign so far, and a broader campaign of action will harness the wide support the London Met community has.
Members are encouraged to show support for the campaign by emailing the VC (http://www.londonmetunison.org.uk/campaigns/proud/), by refusing to engage with any meetings with management or the multinationals (BT, Capita, Wipro, Xchanging and Andrews Outcomes International (previously ‘Outsourcing’ International) about Shared Services or the multinationals, and to join the campaign: Email us with your ideas and suggestions, come along to our next planning meeting. Non-members are encouraged join – before it’s too late!