Public meeting: Stop the Witch Hunt at London Met

London Metropolitan University: Stop the Witch Hunt
Public meeting!  All welcome.
Tuesday 5 March, 6.20pm – 8pm
Resource for London, 356 Holloway Road, N7 6PA
(Next to Nags Head Shopping centre)

Short film screening
Speakers include:
Mark Serwotka, General Secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union
Michael McNeil, UCU Head of Higher Education
Denise Bertuchi, Assistant National Officer, UNISON
Professor Linda Clarke, Professor of European Industrial Relations, University of Westminster
Steve Jefferys, Max Watson, Jawad Botmeh

defendThree members of staff at London Metropolitan University’s Working Lives Research  Institute (WLRI) have been suspended from work in an attack on human rights, trade unions and academic freedom.

Professor Steve Jefferys, European employment relations academic, Director of London Met’s Faculty Advanced Institute for Research (FAIR) and head of WLRI, was suspended on Wednesday 20 February for ‘potential gross misconduct’. Five years previously, he had agreed that Jawad Botmeh should have the chance of going forward to be interviewed as a part-time casual administrative worker on a temporary three month contract in WLRI, when Jawad had a criminal record (he had served 13 years on a conspiracy to cause explosion charge, a charge which is widely believed to be a serious miscarriage of justice).

Jawad Botmeh, after working for five years to the complete satisfaction of all staff and post-graduate students who worked with him, was overwhelmingly elected to the Board of Governors as one of two staff representatives. Two weeks later, on February 7 he was suspended.

Max Watson, a WLRI administrator who is also Chair of the London Met UNISON branch, was also suspended on February 7.  Max had recently been singled out by the Vice-Chancellor in an all staff email because of UNISON’s opposition to the involvement of Capita in the university’s Business Process Review.

Steve, Jawad and Max have broken no university rules. They have all been entirely open and honest with the university.

Professor Jefferys had the authority to make casual appointments. There were no procedures suggesting he should discriminate against former prisoners. Jawad had twice informed the university in writing of his earlier prison sentence and conviction and this evidence is on their files.

The WLRI was set up by London Met to undertake ‘academic, applied and socially committed research and teaching, emphasizing equality and social justice into all aspects of working lives’. Now is the time for the university to be FAIR to the Institute and its staff.

These suspensions are an attack on the principles of staff rights and representation, on social justice and on academic freedom.

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One Response to Public meeting: Stop the Witch Hunt at London Met

  1. Jon Rogers says:

    The well-attended meeting demonstrates the breadth of support for the campaign. We need to take this into every UNISON branch in London.

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