Messages of support


 Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON and Max Watson, London Met UNISON Branch Secretary

Dear Max

As General Secretary of UNISON I have issued the following statement in support of your strike today.

“Our London Metropolitan University branch is to be congratulated on its strong campaign to defend members. A campaign that has already successfully reduced the numbers of members threatened with redundancy.

UNISON members make universities work. Without your work London Metropolitan University could not function. We ensure staff are safe, fed, provided with resources and information and given technical support. At a time when the government is taking the cap off student numbers and encouraging more people into higher education, what sort of institution looks to cut back on vital staff?

It is deplorable that the University is still proposing to make three members redundant. Even more so, that our hard working, strong campaigning Branch Secretary Max Watson is one of those three. We know from our struggles over the years that when employers are threatened they try to take out our leaders.

We all know that Max has been a redoubtable defender of UNISON members and that without his work many members would have lost their jobs as the University has sought to privatise and cut back, over the years.

UNISON will do all it can to defend our members jobs. I call on the University to immediately withdraw the redundancy notice for Max, settle this dispute get our members back into work.

I wish you all the best with your strike today.

Yours in solidarity


Dear Colleagues

Please accept my best wishes for your campaign to prevent compulsory redundancies at London Metropolitan University.  Universities such as London Metropolitan University play a vital social role in providing access and widening opportunities for higher education.  I am aware that many students and graduates of London Metropolitan University have spoken up in defence of educational provision and jobs.  They appreciate how education at London Metropolitan University can enhance people’s lives.

I am very concerned that three UNISON members, including the Branch Secretary, Max Watson, have been targeted for compulsory redundancy.  I have worked with Max in national negotiations in the higher education sector.  I know that Max is a conscientious and responsible trade union officer who represents his members effectively.  I hope that the University senior management will think again and find a way to avoid these compulsory redundancies.

Best wishes to Max.

In solidarity

Elizabeth Lawrence
UCU President

Many of us have been privileged to have worked with Max Watson, in his role as a London Met Unison officer, for some considerable time, and we can strongly attest to his high-level of professionalism, commitment, and dedication to London Met, its staff, its students, and its mission.

Max is a selfless and conscientious member of staff that has always placed the interests of the university above his own. We therefore find it quite shocking that he should now be faced with compulsory redundancy. We have heard first-hand from innumerable academic members of staff that Max has directly supported in both WLRI, and wider throughout FSSH. They all positively comment on his unerring commitment and professional attitude in efficiently dealing with their needs and requirements and in his pro-active approach to such work. He is trusted and relied upon in equal measure and their are serious concerns as to the resulting loss of service should his redundancy be upheld.

On a wider note, as fellow trade union officers, we wish to articulate the significant concern of the London Met UCU Co-ordinating Committee, and the many members we represent, in that we believe the current threat to Max’s job is less to do with the requirements of the faculty, and more to do with the political expediency of the university’s senior management. We further believe Max is being victimised because of his steadfast representation of his fellow Unison members, and as such is now ‘being made an example of’. This is a significant concern, and I’m afraid further reflects the current breakdown of trust between the vast majority of front-line staff, academic and PSD, and senior university management.

For both these reasons – maintenance of a highly regarded research area and the retention of a much respected member of staff, and a de-escalation and move to resolve the critical disjoint between university management and staff relied upon to deliver the university’s mission, we urge you to immediately retract the threat to make Max Watson redundant.

Mark Campbell, London Met UCU (Chair) on behalf of London Met UCU

Dear Colleagues, Brothers and sisters,

I would like to send a message of support and solidarity on behalf of the Branch for your strike action today, against Compulsory redundancies,

Yours in solidarity,

Martin Sleath, Notts Unison, Joint Branch Secretary.

Dear London Met Unison,

Re: Strike Action at London met University against job cuts

Thank you for your communication dated 21st July regarding further strike action (that

has now taken place).

The matter was discussed at our monthly Executive meeting held last week and we,

as a Branch, support your action on this major campaign to defend jobs and

education in your workplace as well as maintaining the right to have an effective


Yours sincerely,

Linda Alexander

Branch Secretary

Ashford Local Government Branch

Good morning,

It is an unqualified injustice to target Max, who has fought tirelessly for UNISON members and students alike,  for compulsory redundancy.   I have signed the petition and have asked  others in our branch to show their solidarity as well.

In solidarity,

Ron Mendel, Deputy Branch  Secretary University of Northampton

Dear Claire,
All our support for the battle to stop redundancies and the victimisation of Max.
Best wishes,

Keith Simpson
UCU City University President

Dear Claire,

As an ex-London Met employee I was very sorry to hear about the latest difficulties that the university is experiencing. I am pleased that UNISON are continuing to support the employees of the university at this problematic time.

At the same time I wanted to express my support for Max Watson. Max was of great help to me during my employment at London Met making a difficult situation more bearable for me.

Kind regards


Dear Max

Very best wishes from Islington NUT for your strike against compulsory redundancies and victimisation tomorrow.

Unfortunately, I am going to be out of London tomorrow so I won’t be able to be there – but I hope it goes well.

In solidarity

Ken Muller
Joint Secretary
Islington NUT

Dear Jamie/UNISON comrades,

I am writing on behalf of our branch (University of Leeds) to offer our support in your fight to oppose the plan to cut 165 academic and professional support staff at the university. Your situation has been highlighted amongst our activists here at Leeds and I hope that they will have been sending individual messages of support as well as signing your on-line petition.

With the drive to squeeze ever greater “efficiencies” from the HE sector we are all facing the spectres of redundancies, down-grading, over-work and the general erosion of our T&Cs, hence it has never been more important for trades unions to stand together. Something this new government is keenly aware of with their attacks on trade union rights that will soon come into play.

It is well recognised that London Met plays a vital role in providing educational opportunities for some of the most disadvantaged groups in society and that this will be put at significant risk by the current plans being pursued by your vice-chancellor.

We offer our support to you and express the wish that London Met may be allowed to prioritise continued service to the needs of its communities over false financial imperatives.

Yours in solidarity

Nick Allen
Branch Chair, University of Leeds UNISON

Dear Colleagues,

I am e-mailing on behalf of the Newham Unison Branch to send a message of support and solidarity with your Strike Action taking place this Friday.  We wish you every success.

best wishes.  Kim silver.
Kim Silver

Branch Secretary
London Borough of Newham

Hi Max and comrades at London Met striking on Friday in defense of their jobs and attacks once again to the Branch Secretary

We applaud your action and offer support on behalf of Kensington and Chelsea UNISON
I will be proposing a donation to your strike funds at our next Branch committee.

See you all on Friday

In Solidarity

Sonya Howard
Branch Secretary
Kensington and Chelsea
Local Government.
And new NEC member

Hi Max,

This is paula peters from disabled people against cuts, am really sorry that I will not be able to make your picket line on Friday 25th July, but I send this message of solidarity to you and ask if this can be read out on the day.

This is Paula Peters from DPAC, I send a message of solidarity to you all today as you continue the fight against the callous attacks on trade unionists who are fighting back against management for workers rights and jobs, and have faced losing their jobs as a result of their trade union activities, and as has been seen across the country, in local government and national gallery campaign, there is a systematic attack to attack effective trade union members from organising effective campaigns in the workplace against the attacks to trade union rights and cuts to services and jobs.

DPAC stand alongside you in the fight for your rights and the fight for your jobs, we are with you in the struggle and fightback against the government’s plans of the anti trade union laws, and to curtail trade union campaigns. Now is the time to unite the trade union struggles and grass roots campaigns together, and hit back against the most callous government this country has seen since the Margaret Thatchter era.

Remember we are many they are few, and if we do not fight back we will lose, and together we are stronger. Together united, we can win and get the tories out! Therefore the workers united, will never be defeated, the workers united will never be defeated.


paula peters.

solidarity with your campaign max, am with you in spirit on Friday.

Dear Max,

Southwark UNISON branch sends greetings of solidarity to strikers at London Met University. We deplore the cuts being made to further and higher education designed to keep the working classes downtrodden and hopeless. I’m sure again our members are paying the price for incompetence and cronyism in the management structures of the Met. The time is coming when unions will have to reclaim FE and HE provision and take over colleges as workers colleges.


Sue Plain
Branch Secretary
Southwark UNISON

Dear Sisters & Brothers @ London Met University,

While I’m not able to join you on Friday (as I’m out of the country!), I write on behalf of Camden UNISON’s branch committee to extend our support for your vitally important action on Friday 24 July and wish you success in this important fight against compulsory redundancies. The defiant resilience of London Met trade unionists, whether UCU or UNISON members, is an inspiration to many of us and really warrants far more substantial resources from our union both regionally and nationally. Our union can ill afford the loss of any of the three UNISON members including your highly committed and extremely effective branch secretary, Max Watson.

Word of your strike has been posted on the branch’s Facebook page and I very much hope that some of our members will be joining your picket lines or early afternoon rally on Friday. Best wishes for a lively, well-supported day of strike action on Friday!

Finally, for now, I hope that your branch has received the £150 donation to your hardship/strike fund that our branch committee agreed at its meeting last Monday.

Yours in solidarity,


George Binette
Camden UNISON Branch Secretary

Dear London Met University UCU members

at our committee meeting today we learnt you have reduced the number of redundancies through your actions but were outraged to hear that the secretary of your sister Unison branch has been victimised. We encourage you to hit back hard at your bullying management – we stand shoulder to shoulder with you. We must also all take strength and confidence from victories such as the recent one at Lambeth College UCU. We understand that struggle is very hard – therefore do not hesitate to ask if you need any help

Geoff Abbott
Equality Officer
on behalf of Newcastle University UCU


Hi Max

The situation at London Met and your victimisation were reported to the IHOOPS meeting last night.
IHOOPS, the Islington anti-austerity umbrella group, wishes the unison branch a successful strike outcome tomorrow.
We support your efforts to resist compulsory redundancies and your victimisation as branch secretary
I hope that some IHOOPS people can make it to the rally outside Tower building from 12-2pm

Dear Clare
Just saw the attack on Max in my holiday emails

Please pass on support. Max is an amazing trade unionist, full of solidarity and effective action in support of workers rights.

It does not seem long since I was last signing a petition to prevent the victimisation of Max and others in UNISON at London Met. It is a disgrace that we are here again. Max beat them last time and I am sure I won’t be alone in pledging all in my power to make sure he beats this again.

Max will have massive support from anyone who has come into contact with him and his open and supportive style of trade unionism.


Elane Heffernan
Hackney UCU

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