Shared Services and UKBA dispute

    Following proposals to privatise parts of the University under a “Shared Services” outsourcing scheme, as well as in regards to the UKBA dispute, the Branch has received the following messages of solidarity and support:

    Hi Max,

    Our branch meeting unanimously voted to send a message of support to your staff and students.

    “Birmingham University UNISON members send their full support to staff and students at London Met University. It’s outrageous that for short sighted political reasons the Home office have revoked London Met’s licence.  To place the futures of all of these international students at risk and to risk the future education of UK students as funding is cut is utterly wrong. We need an education system based on helping students from all backgrounds and nationality’s to realise their full potential and not just education for the needs of business. This is just one more reason to join the TUC march on the 20 October.”

    We have circulated your petition to all our members today, good luck in your campaign

    In solidarity,

    Matt Raine
    Secretary, Birmingham University UNISON

    * * *

    5 September 2012

    Dear Catherine,

    I am writing on behalf of the Higher Education Service Group Executive to support your campaign to demand that the 2,600 international students at London Metropolitan university threatened with deportation be allowed to complete their studies.  The anxiety and distress this has given to the international students studying at London Met and their families is unacceptable.  We believe that there are alternative ways of addressing UKBA’s concerns and that revocation of a university’s licence should only be the option of last resort.  Britain’s reputation as a world-class centre for higher education faces irreparable damage by these actions.

    Best wishes,

    Denise Ward
    Chair, UNISON Higher Education Service Group Executive

    * * *

    5 September 2012

    On behalf of UNISON at Southampton Solent University, I send our support in your dispute with the UKBA and offer solidarity to both staff and students affected by the decision of the UKBA.

    I have sent the following e-mail to my MP, Alan Whitehead (Labour):

    “I am writing to you to ask for your support for students and staff at London Metropolitan University affected by the UKBA’s decision to suspend their licence to support non-EU students. This has obviously had a devastating affect on the students but also on the staff involved. Higher education, and the UK, benefits from students who come to this country to study both financially and culturally. A recent edition of The Times Higher featured a piece by an admin manager trying to cope with the complexities and ambiguities of the UKBA rules (copy available) and I note today that the Public Accounts Committee has published a critical report into changes.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-19465854. I know that you do not sign early day motions as a matter of principle but please give your support to EDM 437.”

    Best wishes,

    Tomasa Bullen
    Chair, Southampton District UNISON

    PS. I hope your protest tomorrow is successful.

    * * *

    4 September 2012

    Unfortunately I can’t join you for the rally in London tomorrow but wish you every success. The government’s action against foreign students studying at London Met is unjustified and inhumane. Its most direct impact will be on those students but it will also impact on their fellow students, all the staff at London Met and no doubt if the government gets away with it we will see similar action elsewhere. It is fantastic that the unions are campaigning with the students and others to stop the government in its tracks and I wish you all the very best in the campaign.

    Caroline Raine
    Area Organiser, UNISON South East

    * * *

    3 September 2012

    Dear UNISON at London Met,

    We are fully aware of all the struggles your branch is going through at the moment.  You have the full backing of the members from University of East London UNISON.

    We stand with you in solidarity against the attack on shared services, and the issues with the UK Border Agency.

    Anything we can do to help, let us know.

    From the Branch Executive of UEL UNISON.

    Susan Parkin
    Secretary, University of East London UNISON

    * * *

    31 August 2012

    As a UNISON activist at UAL and an ex member of staff (and one time student) of London Met, I would just like to send a message of support to all your members there. Today I have read some horrible things in the press about the University.  I also have friends who still work there so I hear first hand how it is. I am really sorry and sickened by how the people in power can cause upset for so many people.

    Regards,

    Rosemary Nicholson (personal capacity)
    University of the Arts London UNISON

    * * *

    Dear Max,

    As Chair of UNISON’s Higher Education Service Group Executive, I would like to express my full support for London Met branch’s campaign against the proposed shared services/ privatisation and the threat this represents to staff and students. I understand and sympathise with the concerns  and frustrations that you must all be feeling with regard to the potential threat to terms and conditions for members and the affect this will have on the services provided to students by privatisation of essential support services.

    With the changes to the finance regime for student fees being introduced it would have made more sense to supply quality support services provided by our members than taking a risk with what is likely to be inferior standards driven by a profit making ethos. Students will be expecting a high standard of services to justify the massive increase in the fees they are having to pay so I wonder how they will feel about the gamble the University is taking with their fees, quality of services, and our members’ jobs.

    I am sure I speak for all elected members of the HESGE in saying that you and the Branch have our full support and best wishes in this campaign. Please keep me informed of your progress and of any assistance that is required.

    Best wishes,

    Denise Ward
    Chair, UNISON Higher Education Service Group Executive

    * * *

    Dear Max,

    I was shocked to read about the proposed privatisation of support services at London Met.

    I read today that London Met University has also run into problems with its international students.

    Please let me know if your Retired Members’ group can help you in any way.

    Please send our greetings and solidarity to all your members engaged in the struggle to defend jobs and services.

    Best wishes,

    Nigel Norman
    Retired Members’ Secretary

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