London Met – Defend our Students – London Demonstration Fri 28/9

Dear colleagues,

London Met UCU, London Met Unison, and London Met SU have called a London-wide mobilisation and march from ULU (Malet Street) to the Home Office (Marsham Street, Victoria) for Friday 28th Sept. Assembling at Malet Street for 1pm. Under the banner: ‘Amnesty Now – Save London Met – No to Privatisation’. This initiative is supported by London Region UCU. See Facebook Event.

This Friday (21/9) the High Court will consider granting an immediate injunction (an effective ‘stay’) in favour of London Met Uni and against the UK Border Agency (UKBA). Such an injunction should allow for a full Judicial Review of the UKBA’s decision to revoke London Met’s Highly Trusted Sponsor (HTS) Tier-4 licence – an action that has condemned over 2,500 of our students to either forced university transfer or deportation.

However, even if an injunction is granted it will only be a temporary reprieve until the outcome of the Judicial Review itself – which is expected to take at least several months to be heard. Meanwhile, our license to recruit international students is still suspended, our current international students are still be in limbo – particularly if they have more than this academic year to complete, and our courses/jobs still threatened.

If an injunction is not granted then we will be in the fight of our lives – not only for all our international students against an immediate and very real deportation threat but for the very survival of London Met as a public university.

We are refusing to sit on the sidelines and by mere observers of our destiny as others shape it. We are therefore fighting as hard as we can for our students, our university, and for real justice. We will have much more chance of winning that fight with your support and solidarity – as wonderfully expressed during last Friday’s UK-wide solidarity events.

Last week’s TUC Congress in Brighton unanimously supported the call for an immediate amnesty for our students – see details here.

We now need your support once more – particularly, if you are based in London. We want as many trade union banners as possible on next week’s march/demonstration – along with as many colleagues as you can bring. This is not just a fight for London Met – this is a fight for public education as a whole.

Please send messages of support to mark.campbell_home@btopenworld.com

NB: 38 MPs have now signed Jeremy Corbyn’s MPs Early Day motion 437 in the House of Commons – see here – If you have not already done
so please write/email your MP and encourage them to sign it too. To
find out who your local MP is see: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/

In solidarity

Mark Campbell
London Metropolitan University UCU (Chair) UCU National Executive Committee (London and the East HE) SERTUC Public Services Committee (Vice-Chair)

Building a campaign for a ‘Yes’ vote in the HE pay ballot

 

Members and Branch officers will be a little bemused at the absence of a campaign for a ‘Yes’ vote from the UCU leadership over the summer.

Many members will have been unaware of an impending ballot even as the ballot paper arrives through their letterbox. All will want to know what the details of the offer are, and what the unions are claiming. Many will want to know what the implications of a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ vote will be.

There is some information available on the UCU website, though it requires a search, since it dates from June. At the time of writing no new material was available. What exists can be found at:

Stop the Squeeze Flyer

Stop the Squeeze Poster

Branch committees are urged to print off and distribute and display this literature, or to ask for bulk orders from the Campaigns Team at UCU Head Office.

Branches should also hold meetings to discuss the pay claim and its implications, and then send information to all members.

For further advice, branches should contact their NEC member for HE, and should seek a report from discussions at Region from their representative on the Regional Committee.

If branches would like a speaker from the UCU Left, which holds the minority position on the national HE Committee, please contact Laura Miles on lauram2913@talktalk.net

Vote ‘Yes’ to Reject the 1% HE Pay Offer

Fight for decent pay and stop the attack on HE.

The pay ballot for UCU members is our chance to vote against the government’s attack on the sector through an erosion of salaries and conditions.

It is our chance to signal that the market – in this case for the determination of pay rates – is not the way to manage a complex educational sector. The ballot is open from now until 10th October.

We have an opportunity to fight back over the erosion of salaries that has been in progress since the 2006 pay settlement.

The UCU HE department conservatively estimates that we have lost 12% of our incomes, in real terms, in the last three years. That is almost certainly an underestimate of what has been lost overall, and since 2006.

Some estimates put the loss at closer to 16%. If this is allowed to continue we will soon have lost one fifth of our salaries!

Some say that this is to be expected in a time of austerity. Others say that the preservation of jobs is a higher priority in a time of crisis. These
are understandable but mistaken arguments.

Pay versus jobs?

All the evidence shows that there is no zero sum game between the defence of jobs and the defence of incomes. The reverse is the case.

An effective defence of jobs requires the UCU to demonstrate that it has the capacity to fight over pay and conditions, and will not be intimidated, cowed or misled by the rhetoric of austerity.

A decision to sacrifice our salaries will not ensure that universities divert the saved costs to keeping open threatened departments or schools.

The sector managers will not use the savings to keep struggling institutions from going to the wall. University governing bodies will not use the savings to enhance the incomes of those in our institutions worse off than academic and related staff.

What, in fact, will happen is that the government will use these savings further to reduce public subventions to the universities, allowing them again to reduce the marginal tax rates on the rich donors of its major party.

It will signal to local managements that the UCU is weak, and need not be considered when they engage in their restructuring exercises.

It will signal to the government that the UCU constitutes no major obstacle to its commercialisation drive, the preliminary to a move to full-scale privatisation.

Not to fight over pay is, in effect, a green light to the government to press ahead with its destructive plans for the sector.

Pay and productivity

Much is made by the government and by managers about the need for pay to match performance. On that basis there could be no justification for VCs’ salaries.

Despite presiding over an economic sector that earned £8.3 billion in 2010 for the Exchequer from overseas student fees (forecast to rise to £17 billion in 2025), the sector’s managers have failed to divert the government from its attack on the sector.

They have largely acquiesced in the face of the government’s determination to commercialise education, and to individualise sector finance through increased fees.

They have failed to mount any resistance to the crippling effect of the points-based immigration system, which threatens not only the future of London Metropolitan but also a raft of other universities. They have done nothing to defend higher education as a social good.

In contrast, the workloads of staff in universities have increased exponentially.

At the same time as we are put under pressure to produce for the REF, we face the reduction of sabbatical leave; while we are urged to increase the quality of our teaching, we are faced with increased teaching hours and larger classes (or smaller but more classes); as we strive to hold on to the academic ethos and standards and standing of our courses, we are told to make our teaching more ‘student friendly’. Infotainment replaces education, and the National Student Survey becomes the measure of academic excellence.

It is not just the cost of living that is rising as fuel and food and clothing and transport bills rise.
The double insult is that this reduction in real incomes is being pressed on us even as pensions contributions are rising dramatically (and pensions benefits are cut for new joiners, threatening the future viability of our pensions schemes).

What is the claim, and what is the offer?

The joint union claim in HE is for 3.7% to cover inflation, and 3.3% to make a partial rectification of real incomes lost over the past period.

It also includes a demand to address the 15% gender pay gap in the sector, to undertake to pay all staff a Living Wage, to assimilate all hourly-paid staff onto the national contract (fractionalisation), and to establish national terms for leave arrangements for disabled staff.

The employers’ response was to offer 1%, and to make no concessions on the other elements of the claim. All of the unions in the HE sector have now either rejected the offer, or are consulting their members on it.

Pay and sectoral strategy

However unfair it may be, pressing down on salaries does make sense for the government.

It is keen to see the break-up of national bargaining. Local or regional bargaining are themselves only a staging post to the long-term aim. That aim is for a system of individual contracts and personalised bargaining, with no role for trade unions.

The strategy for the attainment of that end is a series of zero, or close to zero, pay settlements which will encourage some universities to break away, and to pay more, at least to some staff.

Thus national bargaining will be broken, and the long-term effect
will be a major structural shift of university income, in an increasingly privatised sector, away from salaries and towards corporate surpluses. That, together with the reduction in pensions liabilities from the attack on our superannuation schemes, is the chief encouragement for private capital to enter the sector, and thus to enable the state to withdraw from the provision of public universities.

If we wish to resist such a spectre, and to preserve Higher Education from this dystopian vision, as well as to defend our living standards, then we must fight over pay.

We owe this fight not just to ourselves and our families, and to our own sense of self-respect as tutors and scholars, we owe it to future generations.

• Vote ‘Yes’ to reject the offer.
• Fight for the sector.
• Fight for pay, and for the future.

This is available here as a downloadable printable flyer for use in your branch.

Why we must reject this insulting FE pay offer.

FE branches are being asked to accept of reject a pay offer from the Association of Colleges (AoC). The offer is part of the Coalition’s continuing efforts to down workers’ incomes and make us pay for the crisis. In FE most lecturers are now significantly worse off than when the crisis first hit.

Osborne’s strategy of slashing public spending and public services is completely failing to drag the economy out of recession yet he and his millionaire friends stubbornly insist there is no alternative.

No-one should believe this. The crisis was the bankers’ fault, not ours. They have successfully dumped their private debt onto the public purse.

A generation of austerity?

In a recession, to keep cutting pay and public spending only drives the economy into a downward spiral.

The problem is not the debt – it is
the refusal of banks and corporations to invest the piles of cash they are sitting on, much of it our money handed over by the Coalition.

Yet some commentators now suggest that the austerity assault will continue not for two years, or five, or ten, but for a generation!

Public services and public sector pay are directly in the firing line. Barely 20 per cent of the cuts announced so far have been implemented. The Coalition is using the crisis to drive through privatisation, higher productivity and lower living standards.

The London Met crisis, where thousands of overseas students face deportation, shows how they are priming HE and FE for privatisation, with dire implications for pay and conditions.

A Hot Autumn

But the potential for a real fightback is everywhere. People remember the inspiring N30 pensions strike last year but have also felt frustration that N30 was not built on by the trade union leaders.

Despite that, the mood of anger and outrage is growing. Already this autumn several public sector unions are preparing to actively resist the cuts, and the recent ‘consider the practicalities’ of a general strike against austerity.

NUT members have voted heavily for industrial action alongside the NASUWT over pay, workloads and pensions. Unions such as the FBU, PCS and others could join in. Our HE colleagues are also balloting over pay. Unison HE staff are planning a strike in October. The stage is set for joint union action.

The TUC demonstration planned for 20th October will also be a huge step to boost workers confidence and stop this wrecking coalition in its tracks.

A Fight Back That Can Win

For UCU’s FE members to accept a
pay cut now would be a huge mistake. The Coalition’s assault on education is accelerating. If we fight back we can win, as the Classe movement of students and education workers in Quebec has just shown with its stunning victory against tuition fee rises and education cuts.

Here, crippling tuition fees and this summer’s grading scandals have slashed HE recruitment by around 17% and FE numbers have been badly hit by EMA

and ESOL cuts. If we are to effectively defend jobs, courses and conditions in colleges and universities then we cannot be seen by employers to roll over on pay.

The case for rejecting this offer is overwhelming. Since April we are all paying higher pension contributions – really a pay cut. Fuel costs, energy, food, insurance and other necessities keep rising.

An Insulting Offer

The AoC’s ‘final’ pay offer of 0.7 per cent is a real insult. Despite most colleges having money for new buildings and rising pay for principals we get told to be more efficient, work harder and accept pay cuts. Some employers are even talking about regional pay rates.

We need binding national agreements on workload and observation policies but we have only been offered a joint working party to ‘consider best practice’ on observation policy.

That is why your national negotiators and the Further Education Committee (FEC) have rejected the offer and are urging members to do the same. The FEC will meet on 5th October to consider the outcome of branch meetings.

• Reject the AoC offer
• Support the ballot for action over pay

This is available here as a downloadable printable flyer for you to use in your branches.

Report Back from USS Conference

UCU delegates in the USS pension scheme covering the pre92 University sector met in Manchester this week to discuss the future of their pension’s dispute. The meeting took place against a background of a vote to reintroduce a Work to Contract and calls for escalating strike action voted for at the National Congress in June. Unfortunately, the National Executive (NEC) had done little to develop a mood for action among the membership between June and September. The Superannuation Working Group had been tasked by the Higher Education Committee to provide members with a credible programme for escalation; instead they produced a transparently unworkable plan involving all out indefinite strike action at the end of October. This was presented to HESC by a leading Independent Broad Left member, while another declared that to vote for it would be ‘dishonest and reprehensible’ and it gained little support among delegates as a result.

Worse still, branches’ attempts to develop a coherent strategy for industrial action, involving one day and limited strikes and a continuation of the Work to Contract were blocked by the NEC  members, who had themselves proposed the all-out action. The NEC members who opposed all industrial action are themselves aligned to the Communist Party & Labour Party led Independent Broad Left and have failed to develop a real strategy to defend pensions in the union. Instead they have argued for a version of the Career Average pension scheme the employers imposed. They were able to win a majority of delegates to ending our industrial action on the basis of their pessimism and defeatism. They argued both that the employers are intransigent and yet that they might give concessions if we end our industrial action and negotiate from a position of weakness. In doing so it is clear they reject the idea that industrial action is either desirable or possible in defence of pensions, pay or jobs.

This decision is a serious setback for the defence of members, in particular those groups of young, women and others facing pay discrimination in their careers. It will undermine attempts to recruit the wide layers of part-time, casualised and newer staff coming into the industry. It will also undermine attempts to build unity across other unions involved in higher education and teaching who themselves are set to take industrial action in October.

Despite this setback the conference nevertheless prevented the national executive members’ attempts to gain support for a negotiating position proposing still higher pension contributions for those in the career average pension scheme in a divisive attempt to protect their own final salary pension position. This is an indication of the limited extent to which union activists and delegates can be pressurised into selling-out members and prioritising one group’s pay and conditions against another.

UCU Left supporters have consistently opposed attempts to undermine the pension dispute and have argued for a strategy which involved strike action and co-ordinated action with other unions. UCU Left supporters have all along argued that defending pensions is part of a wider campaign in defence of jobs and pay, an anti-austerity fight against government cuts and privatisation plans that cannot be won by a focus upon the narrow specifics of our pension scheme.

The attack on pensions is an attack on deferred pay, and the changes in the USS scheme make it easier for employers to attack jobs. It is deeply unfortunate that our union’s leadership has failed to develop any coherent strategy to defend pay, pensions or jobs. Recriminations are not the answer to this paralysis, however. What we need is to create an organisation of rank and file activists, located in every branch, who are not only capable of leading members in local disputes but who can explain to members the implications of national decisions at Congresses and conferences, and the importance of a national union leadership that is prepared to fight and to confront the Government.

The implications of the conference set-back for resistance to the employers will not be long in making themselves evident. This weakness will encourage the employers to bring forward plans to end national bargaining, and, in some cases, to question the need for a recognition of the UCU at all. All activists need to work in branches and regions to build a coherent strategy to resist these assaults, and to insist that such a stance is also taken by our elected national leadership.

VOTE YES IN THE PAY BALLOT

Regardless of Thursday’s decision, we would be foolish to pass up the opportunity to join with our public sector colleagues in industrial action in defence of pay and education. UCU members recognise that action coordinated with other public sector unions is our most powerful weapon and we will have another opportunity to fight over pay (Pensions are nothing more than pay deferred and collectively saved); our ballot over pay will open on 18 September 2012 and close on 10 October 2012, see UCUHE/169. Any pay rise won will be reflected in increased pension payments.

Activists now need to demand that an effective national campaign for a YES vote in the ballot is conducted. A nationwide Get the Vote Out (GTVO) campaign can revitalise union branches, win the ballot and help recruit members to the union.

We are Waltham Forest anti-EDL demonstration

A magnificent and historic victory against the EDL in Walthamstow

Thousands of people joined an anti-EDL unity demonstration in Walthamstow on Saturday 1 September, organised by We Are Waltham Forest and Unite Against Fascism.

It was a day of celebration that has delivered a humiliating defeat to the racist thugs of the English Defence League (EDL).

The EDL wanted to stage a provocative anti-Muslim march through the multicultural borough in north east London as part of its campaign to spread race hatred. It was a failure.

The EDL called it a “make or break” day for its dwindling band of supporters. It promised to mobilise over 1,000 people for its Walthamstow demonstration. Only 200 turned up. They were blocked, diverted and finally told that their rally had to be abandoned.

In contrast between 3,500 to 4,000 people turned out to oppose them. UAF along with the “We Are Walthamstow” campaign brought together trade unions, community and faith groups, and many others in a magnificent display of unity. Speakers at the rally included Stella Creasy MP, Irfan Akhtar (WF Council of Mosques), Father Steven Saxby (Dean of WF), Jeanette Arnold MEP and Jean Lambert (LAM).

This miserable turn-out for the EDL — that at one time claimed to have thousands of active members — has triggered another round of resignations and in-fighting. RMT members, particularly at Euston and Blackhorse Road, played a significant part in making it clear that the EDL were not welcome.

The EDL have, however, threatened to return on 27 October. Unite against Fascism is therefore calling for a national turnout if the threatened event goes ahead.

 

All pictures of We are Waltham Forest demo copyright Mick Holder

YouTube videos

 

London Met Solidarity Demonstrations

Right across the country UCU Branches and others have organised lunchtime demonstrations, here are some photo’s of just some of them. Many UCU branches, and other organisations including The TUC and The Green Party have passed motions of support for London Met. Below the photo’s is the text from Sheffield Hallam University UCU branch, it can be used as a model motion for your branch.

Solidarity with London Met UCU and London Met international students

This branch condemns the decision of the UK Border Agency to revoke the licence of London Metropolitan University and to threaten international students with deportation.

It believes this action by the UK Border Agency threatens the ability of all UK universities to recruit overseas students.

The branch calls on all members to:

  • Sign the petition calling for amnesty for London Met international students currently studying in the UK.
  • Write to their MPs asking them to support the Early Day Motion 437 tabled by Jeremy Corbyn MP (see below).
  • Support a short lunchtime rally at 12.00 noon in Hallam Square on Friday 14th September, in support of London Met international students.

 

Text of EDM 437

That this House calls on the Home Secretary to reverse the decision of the UK Border Agency to suspend London Metropolitan University’s right to recruit overseas students; believes it is grossly unfair on those existing overseas students who attend university and will now be forced to move elsewhere or face removal from the UK; further calls on the Home Office and the university to work together to resolve any administrative issues and not threaten the future of the university; and also believes that this decision has very damaging and serious consequences for every university and will further deter overseas students from choosing to study in the UK.

The great exam rigging scandal: time to reassess exams

Every year at this time students, teachers and parents have become used to the usual Tory Right mantra about a decline in standards and the dumbing down of exams. Such annual rantings undermine the hard work of young people and dedicated teachers, reflecting the elitist views of the Daily Mail and their ilk who refuse to accept that ordinary working class people can achieve at the same level as their middle or upper class cousins.

This year, however, the exams boards, clearly encouraged if not instructed by Gove’s department, have gone one step further in denying working class students access to further and higher education by rigging the results.

Students who achieved the same results have been awarded different GCSE grades depending on when they sat the exam. The students who have been hit the most are on the borderline between a C and a D, many of whom come from BME backgrounds.

Doing this during the time period of one GCSE has exposed the arbitrary nature and manipulation of GCSE exams to suit a political agenda. This scandal has enraged students, parents and teachers across Britain and rightly so.
According to the Guardian the worst affected GCSE English syllabus for grade reductions was AQA. 96,000 students sat this exam in the summer and 70 percent achieved a D grade or below.

For over 25 years successive governments have created an education system where the exam is regarded as the sole and key determinant of knowledge and achievement. Teachers have been pushed by league tables and Ofsted to place the emphasis of teaching on exam results. This has resulted in teachers spending most of their time during large parts of a child’s education drilling them to pass exams. Teachers’ complaints about the stultifying effect of this on ensuring that education is part of the development of happy and rounded human beings have at best been ignored and at worst  labelled as the failed ideology of utopian lefties.  Although, of course, within the elite schools, debate and discussion is still embedded in the curriculum to ensure creative thinking.

Teachers have got on with implementing the exam-oriented syllabuses and have become adept at getting young people through exams. No longer is the A grade simply the domain of middle class children, many more working class pupils are achieving good grades.  Rather than celebrating these achievements we find that year on year, egged on by the right wing press, governments say that this can’t be right, the exams must be too easy.  How can our universities tell who is really suited to attend when everyone gets good exam results, they complain.

Governments have tried a number of different ways of sifting out the ‘really able’ student who truly merits being at university. For example, they introduced the A*. However teachers have drilled their students too well and the ‘wrong types’ were still getting A*s.

This is of course very useful for the government.  They will now be able to claim that the raising of fees has not deterred young people to apply to university – there are plenty of places left –students just can’t get the required grades, they will argue.

‘Grade inflation’ we are now told by those who have been the main drivers of test mania in education, must be driven down! It is a nonsense, they cry, to expect a year on year rise, as there has been for the last 25 years, in GCSE grades.  The exam boards therefore decided to rig the exam results to ensure that significant numbers of young people did not get the good grades that they should have.

However, students, parents and teachers are not fooled by this crass attempt to re-impose Cameron and his wealthy friends’ control over the pathways to power and wealth.

The TUC conference voted unanimously to support a motion calling for students who sat their exams in January to be regraded and for an enquiry into the fiasco. The Welsh Education Minister has intervened and instructed the Welsh education board to regrade their students. We need to campaign for Gove to do the same.
This latest scandal has done more than simply expose their naked class cynicism and crookedness. This scandal has opened up an opportunity to take on the whole exam orientated education system.

Of course we must ensure that we apply as much pressure as possible where we can to get the government to reverse the grade boundary changes so that all those students get the grades they worked so hard for. However, we need to go further. We need to take a step back and look at what this fiasco has shone a light on – the bankruptcy of using exams as the main form of assessment in our education system.
At best exams are memory tests. We file tens of thousands of young people into dark and dingy church halls and gymnasiums, start a clock and fire a starting gun. No talking, no looking and no thinking – just scribble down as quickly as possible what you can remember.

The exam and results do not really measure ‘intelligence’ or how much ‘knowledge’ a person has compared to another. But there again, they were never really meant to. Access to smaller class sizes, private tuition and a more varied curriculum meant that the system always favoured the sons and daughters of the wealthy allowing them access to the pathways of power and privilege.

It is not a coincidence that one of the countries in which the market and competition has penetrated greatest into the everyday life of its citizens is also one in which its young people sit more exams than their opposite numbers in other countries.
Exams teach the young from a very early age that competition is the natural way of life. It is human nature. Some are strong and some are weak. The strong go on to survive whilst the weak don’t. Exams instil a sense of individualism, look after yourself and don’t worry about others, in fact distrust others; after all they probably want to steal your knowledge.

We should argue to scrap exams as the main form of assessment. Continuous assessment has proven to be a far more effective way in developing the creative possibilities in every young person. It is not natural to teach young people to act as individuals or groups of individuals competing with each other. In fact real life is about working collectively to achieve and create. If the restrictive frame of the market and competition was taken away we could really see what human beings are capable of.

While invigilating exams and watching my students file in one by one obediently taking off their hats, turning off their mobile phones and anxiously waiting for the firing gun to start them on a journey that will unfairly decide their futures, I wander off into a dream. In the dream a student breaks the silence of the exam room, stands up and demands that all the students push all their chairs and tables together so that they can answer the question collectively and they do. But then I wake up and see all those scared young people sat at their desks.  This can’t be right.

Sean Vernell, GCSE English teacher , City and Islington College.

Amnesty Now – speech to TUC Congress [London Met]

Below is Mark Campbell’s full speech to TUC Congress 2012 proposing Emergency Motion 1 on London Met.

NB – Mark was unable to complete the speech in its entirety and a small part of the speech towards the end was left out when proposing the motion.

——

President, Congress, Mark Campbell, University and College Union, proposing Emergency Motion 1

Just over two weeks ago thousands of international students studying at London Metropolitan University – my university, woke up to a headline in the Sunday Times that said their leave to study in the UK was to be withdrawn, and that they only had sixty days to find another university or they were to be forcibly deported.

In one stroke of a pen the Government (via the UK Boarder Agency) blighted the lives of over 2,500 international students.

As Ed Balls put it yesterday – ‘This is absolutely disgraceful’!

These aren’t just stats. These are people just like you and me, trying to better themselves and support their families and communities.

They are like Dean, a student on my MSc Computer Forensics course. Dean is from Nigeria, and he has already successfully studied and passed a pre-master’s degree in Computing at London Met. He should now be about to start his seconder semester on his MSc.

So far Dean and his family have paid over £15,000 in course fees. He attends class. He has passed all his exams. His English is excellent!

He is half-way through his course and he doesn’t want to change university. He wants to stay at London Met with the lecturers he knows and his student friends – and he should be allowed to do so!

On receiving news of his predicament Dean phoned his family in Lagos to try and explain the dire situation. His father suffered a heart attack as he absorbed the terrible news!

Dean is now scarred to leave the country to see his seriously ill father as he thinks he will not be allowed back to complete the course he and his family have sacrificed so much for. This is an absolute outrage!

——

Dean is not ‘BOGUS’, or a ‘SCROUNGER’, or an ‘ILLEGAL’, or any of the other filthy, racist abuse spewed by bigoted Tories and their right-wing friends in the gutter press. The very language that gives succour to the racists and fascists of the EDL and BNP as they attempt to divide us.

Well, I’m PROUD that Dean and his fellow international students are in my class. We all benefit from the different geographical, cultural, and social perspectives that such students bring.

I’m PROUD that London Met has the most working class and ethnically diverse student body of ANY UK university, and that we host the TUC archive and the internationally acclaimed Women’s Library.

And I’m PROUD that we defend multiculturalism in the face of attacks by Cameron and friends. Hopefully, Ed Milliband will now add his own voice to such a necessary defence.

——

We are demanding an immediate amnesty for ALL of London Met’s international students so that they can continue their studies at London Met and not be farmed out across the UK or forcibly deported.

We support Jeremy Corbyn’s Early Day Motion (EDM437) that argues for the reversal of this appalling decision. Please get your MP to sign up!

We are saying loud and clear:

YES TO EDUCATION – NO TO DEPORTATION – AMNESTY NOW!

——

But this isn’t just about London Met. This is an attack on all our international students across all universities.

International students bring in billions of pounds to our economy, they help sustain our universities, and as I’ve already said they add much welcome diversity and multicultural perspective.

This attack on London Met has sent shockwaves throughout the world. It has effectively put a banner across the UK that says ‘YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE!’ – and it needs to be reversed!

But why are international students included in net migration targets in the first place?

I’ll tell you why. International students are being used as a political punch-bag as the Tories pander to a racist ‘tough on immigration’ agenda in a desperate attempt to divide us in order to weakem our ability to resist their attacks upon us.

LET’S BE CLEAR

It’s not international students or immigrants that are responsible for the destruction of our economy;
It’s not international students or immigrants that are running down our NHS; and
It’s not international students or immigrants that are responsible for the privatisation assault on our entire education system from ‘Free Schools’ to ‘for-profit’ private universities!

Our REAL ENEMIES are the Tories and their privatising friends!

——

And a brief word to our own management at London Met. We will work with you to defend our students and save our university. But don’t you even dare consider taking us down a privatisation, outsourcing, or shared-service route as a proposed ‘solution’ to the financial pressure the university is now under or further cutting jobs! It’s no solution and you will be vigorously resisted!

——

We need to stand with our students as they have stood with us when we have fought back against cuts. They have stood with us on our picket lines and we stand with them now.

UCU are therefore supporting lunchtime protests outside all universities and colleges throughout the UK this Friday in solidarity with London Met international students – please do everything you can to join us.

Support the motion unanimously.

Stand with our sisters and brothers as they face the threat of deportation.

SAVE OUR STUDENTS – SAVE LONDON MET!