Times Higher Education supplement, 2 APRIL 2015
London Metropolitan University’s senior management recently found in their own staff survey that 83 per cent have no faith or confidence in their leadership. Their response appears to be to sack as many staff as they can to change the demographics.
They are intent on slashing 165 posts while ignoring warnings from staff and trade unions that these cuts are unnecessary and damaging (“London Met staff on tenterhooks over plan to cut 10% of workforce”, News, 19 March).
Management have a long history of ignoring warnings, to the detriment of staff, students and the health of the institution. For example, in 2012, when Unison and the University and College Union strongly cautioned against entering into partnership with the London School of Business and Finance, they went ahead anyway. There followed an aggressive audit by the Home Office into our visa compliance systems, which then led to the devastating loss of our overseas student licence for a time. The same managers who took that decision are now looking at who should pay the ultimate price for their failures.
Another survey at London Met showed that levels of stress and bullying are high. Management’s answer to these results is to make the redundancy consultation process as stressful as possible. By day 19 of the statutory minimum 45-day consultation period, we are still waiting for the detailed proposals for the removal of 150 posts to be published.
Even though little information has been shared, vice-chancellor John Raftery insists on curtailing our consultation period despite its being Easter, while the director of human resources is on leave, as are the majority of burned-out staff. But instead of resting, we are checking our inboxes for a dreaded email signalling the worst.
It was no surprise that the staff surveys showed dire levels of trust in senior management; what is eyebrow-raising is the continuity of the same managers who have brought us to our knees over the past four years.
Their top-down approach has failed, and we have written to our governors urging them to stop the current plans, look at the mess they have made and listen to our concerns.
If they fail to act yet again, then we will have no choice but to resist the cuts ourselves, through any means at our disposal, alongside the UCU and with the support of our students.