MAX WATSON VS LONDON METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY (EAT)

Our Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), ‘Max Watson vs London Metropolitan University’ (a claim for Trade Union victimisation), has been set a date:

11th February, 2015
10.30am

Second Floor, Fleetbank House
2-6 Salisbury Square
London, EC4Y 8AE

https://www.justice.gov.uk/tribunals/employment-appeals/venues

Let us know if you are coming – there is a public gallery but with limited space. For background, see here.http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-50d0-Trouble-at-the-Met

And you can watch Rosalind Hanmer, London Met University’s LGBT officer, delivers her speech at UNISON National Delegates Conference (NDC), on 20th June 2014 in Brighton.

 


The full motion 53, which was being debated, is on line here:
http://www.londonmetunison.org.uk/201…
And the text for Ros Hanmer’s speech is here:
http://maxwatsonunison.blogspot.com/2…

 

And watch Sandy Nicoll, SOAS UNISON Branch Secretary, deliver his speech at UNISON National Delegates Conference (NDC), on 20th June 2014 in Brighton.

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MAX WATSON VS LONDON METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY

You will recall that in July we informed all members that UNISON’s Solicitors, Thompson’s, submitted an Employment Tribunal Claim against London Metropolitan University for discrimination against Max Watson, for his Trade Union activities.

We are pleased to inform you Watford Employment Tribunal has accepted our application and there will be a hearing in January. The hearing starts on 6th and will end by 10th January 2014. We will of course update you on the outcome as soon as we have it.

Thanks for your ongoing and crucial support during our most difficult year so far.

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Reinstatement Petition Update

Dear Friend,
I am writing to you to thank you for being one of 2,500 people who signed a petition in February and March of this year protesting at the suspensions by London Metropolitan University of myself (Professor of European Employment Studies),  Max Watson (the UNISON trade union branch chairperson) and Jawad Botmeh (a Palestinian who had served 13 years in prison as a result of a major miscarriage of justice) in connection with the Working Lives Research Institute having given Jawad work. You may remember that the suspensions followed immediately after Jawad’s being elected by LondonMet staff to represent them as a Governor on the LondonMet Board of Governors.

The result of your efforts was a real success: we were all reinstated by March 13. Jawad resigned as Governor on March 14 and is now back at work.

However, senior management has continued to attempt to make life difficult for Max and me by charging both of us with ‘serious misconduct’ in connection with Jawad’s appointment to a half-time casual job in 2008. This was despite the fact that his 2010 appointment to a permanent post was what triggered his ability to stand as a Governor – and the fact that this appointment went through HR and was raised with Professor Malcolm Gillies, five months after he became VC.

In our hearings and at our appeals both Max and I were found ‘guilty’: Max for ‘not remembering’ how Jawad had found out about job and for allegedly ‘coaching’ him (the only candidate); me – although no rules were broken – for failing to approach an even more senior management to approve such a ‘controversial’ appointment.

While Max was a junior administrative assistant at the time of Jawad’s appointment, and I was responsible for it – a decision that led to no risk or damage to the university, staff or students (unlike a series of other decisions taken by other senior managers, none of whom we were told at my appeal, has ever been taken before the university’s disciplinary proceedings) – our punishments are now different.

As from July 1 the Final Warning I was issued on April 23rd, has expired. It is for this reason I am now able to write to you all to explain what has happened.

Unfortunately, Max Watson has got a six months’ Final Warning which will now only expire on November 1. This is disgraceful treatment of a worker who did absolutely nothing wrong; and it confirms concerns that the management has all along aimed to victimise him because he is an effective trade unionist. This issue is obviously of particular concern to the UNISON trade union, the UK’s largest public sector union, but it it also of concern to all who are concerned with rights at work and social justice.

One final suggestion. The Working Lives Research Institute is about rights at work and social justice. If you are not already on our mailing list, I would like to invite you to go to
http://www.workinglives.org/contact-us/mailing-list/subscribe.cfm
and to sign up. Besides showcasing the research projects we work on, under Courses on the website you will find our flagship Professional Doctorate programme – the DProf (Researching Work). This is a part-time doctoral programme that operates on a 5 a year two-day intensive study basis and leads to a doctoral degree usually based on a thesis probing a professional issue of direct relevance to you. Do contact us if you are interested… a new cohort is starting in October.

Of course, our DProf programme will now be enriched with a critical analysis of our own arbitrary managerial action and of the ethics of human resource management, as well as with examples from our recent research on Forced Labour (for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation), http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2013/jun/05/european-governments-oblivious-forced-labour-conditions

Once again, Thanks for your support. You helped us win reinstatement.
Solidarity remains as important for social justice as ever.

yours in solidarity

Steve Jefferys

(In personal capacity)

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Hope and fairness at London Met! Drop the charges against Steve & Max! Wear Green to show your support!

You probably know that Professor Steve Jefferys and Research Administrator Max Watson are both appealing against final written warnings following their involvement in the recruitment, some five years ago, of Jawad Botmeh onto a temporary contract. Jawad is an employee who the University recently confirmed they had full confidence in.

Steve was found to have acted within his delegated authority in making the appointment but was disciplined for not referring the matter upwards (when Jawad subsequently applied for a permanent role his appointment was ‘referred upwards’ and was approved). If you can work out what Steve did wrong (particularly as he was found to have made the original appointment ‘within his delegated authority’) then you deserve a prize.

Max’s disciplinary relates to the fact that he could not remember (some five years after) that he had actually taken a phone enquiry relating to the job from Jawad prior to Jawad submitting his formal application. No one has suggested that any written rule of the University’s recruitment procedure has been broken.

This simply cannot be right. The University has contrived allegations of misconduct by inventing ‘non-rules’ that neither Steve or Max have broken. If these disciplinary findings are not quashed on appeal then no one, student or staff, can ever be sure that even when complying with the rules in doing their jobs that charges cannot be brought against them – even up to five years later.

As students and staff of LondonMet we demand hope and fairness. We wish to persuade the Board of Governors to ensure respect for all Londonmet staff by insisting on proper procedures and real charges based only on actual misconduct in all disciplinaries in future. To do this we need to get a moral avalanche moving and we need your help to do it.

We need your support to do two things. To distribute this leaflet to your colleagues whether they be students or staff, and to wear a green badge for hope and fairness.

We want to leaflet everyone at the University alerting them to this injustice over the two weeks beginning Tuesday 28 May, and we want to encourage people to wear a small plain green badge as a sign of hope and fairness in the week of the Appeals on Wednesday 29th May (Max) and Wednesday June 12th (Steve).

The six months final written warnings follow five weeks of being suspended on ‘gross misconduct charges’ which were dropped following a huge campaign. Max, Steve and Jawad have been reinstated – they should now be allowed to get on with their jobs and lives.  Max and Steve are appealing against ‘serious misconduct’ charges:

Steve was disciplined, despite:

  • The VC’s clean bill of health for Jawad, confirming Steve’s judgement that there was no risk to anyone in Steve’s appointing Jawad; and
  • Jawad’s background as a victim of a miscarriage of justice; and
  • Evidence from top immigration lawyers that Jawad always had the right to remain and work in the UK, there being no risk at all of a breach of immigration law; and
  • HR never raising a single query about the forms Steve filled in,

the accusations against Steve are that he exposed the university to risk and didn’t fill in forms properly.

Max was disciplined, despite

  • Jawad being the only candidate who got his application for the part-time casual PSG3 post in by the deadline; and
  • Max, a PSG4 admin worker, encouraging others to apply; and
  • Max having met Jawad once prior to his appointment and having answered two telephone and two email queries from him; and
  • Max being one of three people who interviewed Jawad; and
  • Steve having responsibility for Casual appointments and being responsible for submitting the Casual Employment Forms,

the accusations against Max are that he unfairly favoured Jawad.

Continuing with these ‘charges’ is an attack on logic. It is an attack on trade unionism. It is an attack on academic freedom.

For hope and fairness at London Met!

Drop the charges against Steve & Max!

Wear Green to show your support!

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Drop the charges against Steve and Max

Drop the charges against Steve and Max

Join the Lobby

Wednesday April 17 1-2 pm

Entrance to Tower Building 
166-220 Holloway Road, London N7 8DB

London

Good and bad news at Londonmet

In a dying gasp for air the beleaguered and discredited UK Border Agency (now being wound up after five incompetent years) has finally recognised that Londonmet is at least as entitled as any other university to recruit ‘foreign’ students from outside the EU (at least for the next 12 months).

The withdrawal of Londonmet’s license to sponsor student visas in August last year took place four months after it had formed a partnership with the private education provider, the London School of Business and Finance, and its renewal on April 9 2013 follows four months after that partnership was terminated.

This good news for staff and students at Londonmet (and indeed for UK Higher Education generally) is tempered by the University’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer’s decision on April 8 to continue to charge the UNISON chair, Max Watson, and the Director of the Working Lives Research Institute, Professor Steve Jefferys, who strongly criticised management’s outsourcing strategy in 2012. They are both accused of ‘serious misconduct’ over the 2008 appointment of the Palestinian Jawad Botmeh, who had served over 13 years in British prisons in a well-known miscarriage of justice case, and who had been elected a staff governor in January 2013.

Jawad was suspended from February 7 to March 11 2013. Max was suspended from February 7 to March 13. Steve was suspended from February 20 to March 13. Their suspensions were lifted after 2,500 people signed a protest petition and hundreds wrote to the VC and to the Board of Governors.

Londonmet’s Vice Chancellor, Malcolm Gillies, told all staff on March 12 that ‘the University can have trust and confidence in Jawad Botmeh’.  Two days later, anxious not to be used as an excuse by anyone to deny Londonmet its ability to sponsor overseas students, Jawad resigned from the Board of Governors.

Rather than use this resolution to end the damaging episode, on Friday March 15 Max and Steve were written to by the now-retired Director of HR charging them with ‘serious misconduct’, and listing its possible penalties as loss of wages, loss of ‘privileges/facilities’ and/or a final written warning.

The charges are being sucked out of someone’s thumb.

Despite

–          The VC’s clean bill of health for Jawad, confirming Steve’s judgement that there was no risk to anyone in Steve’s appointing Jawad; and

–          Jawad’s background as a victim of a miscarriage of justice; and

–          Evidence from top immigration lawyers that Jawad always had the right to remain and work in the UK, there being no risk at all of a breach of immigration law; and

–          HR never raising a single query about the forms Steve filled in,

the accusations against Steve are that he exposed the university to risk and didn’t fill in forms properly.

Despite

–          Jawad being the only candidate who got his application for the part-time casual PSG3 post in by the deadline; and

–          Max, a PSG4 admin worker, encouraging others to apply; and

–          Max having met Jawad once prior to his appointment and having answered two telephone and two email queries from him; and

–          Max being one of three people who interviewed Jawad; and

–          Steve having responsibility for Casual appointments and being responsible for submitting the Casual Employment Forms,

the accusations against Max are that he unfairly favoured Jawad.

Continuing with these ‘charges’ is an attack on logic.

It is an attack on trade unionism.

It is an attack on criticism.

Join the Lobby of London Metropolitan University between 1 and 2 pm on Wednesday 17 April

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Keep the pressure up!

LOBBY: April 17th 2013: 1-2pm – Entrance to Tower Building
166-220 Holloway Road, London N7 8DB
DROP ALL CHARGES AGAINST MAX & STEVE!
END THE WITCH HUNT!
KEEP THE PRESSURE UP!

Dear supporters,

As you know thanks to the overwhelming support our campaign received Jawad, Steve and Max were reinstated on 12th and 13th of March. We won reinstatement, but now they want to discipline Steve and Max.

The day Jawad was allowed to return to work, the VC wrote to all staff to say:

“I am pleased to say that one part of that investigation is now concluded. It was into the trust and confidence that the University, as employer, could have in Jawad Botmeh, as a research manager, and I have ruled that the University can have that trust and confidence. Please welcome him as he returns to work today.”

Shamefully, however, the University followed this up with a further investigation, despite  Jawad resigning from the Board of Governors, and also decided to discipline Max and Steve with ‘Serious Misconduct’ charges in relation to their role in appointing Jawad.

Jawad was then interviewed for a fourth time – this time by the outgoing Director of HR, Lyn Link – and then he was forced to wait another week to find out they are not pursuing any further action against him.

That’s the good news – Jawad is not being disciplined!

We know we were able to get management to back down when they suspended all three – now we can get them to drop all charges against Max and Steve too.

We are calling for another Lobby demanding the ‘serious misconduct’ charges against Steve and Max be dropped.

There is no case to answer: this farce must end and the University should apologise and announce a new timetable for election to the Board of Governors.

Thanks for your ongoing support. Please forward this to all your networks.

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Thank you from Max, Jawad and Steve

Thank you thank you thank you…

All three of us were reinstated by London Metropolitan University
yesterday and today.

This confirms that we have done nothing wrong.
We know we would not have won this terrific victory without your
overwhelming support.

Within two weeks of 600 letters going to the Vice Chancellor and to
the Board of Governors, and of 2,500 signatures to the petition from
colleagues within the UK and the European Union and from around the world we have been reinstated.

Our trade unions, UNISON and UCU, gave us 100% support. This victory confirms the importance of collective strength and solidarity.

You helped us all.

You knew the difference between right and wrong.

You knew it was vital to support the right to union representation,
the right to elect staff representatives and the importance of
academic freedom.

We would like to thank you personally on Wednesday March 20 from 5.30pm in the El Commandete pub
http://www.fancyapint.com/Pub/london/el-comandante/1144 5 minutes from the new location of the Working Lives Research Institute at the Holloway Rd site of London Metropolitan University (nearest tube, Holloway Rd).

Thanks so much!
Jawad, Max and Steve

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