Max is back at work!

Max’s suspension has been lifted with immediate effect.

Max’s message to his union branch:

“I have been overwhelmed by your support and solidarity. It has been a humbling and inspiring experience to receive this level of support. I am proud and honoured to be your Chair and to be back at work today. I await good news from Steve Jeffreys.”


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Jawad’s suspension has been lifted

Fantastic news! Jawad’s suspension has been lifted and he is back at work today. He has sent this message of thanks to UNISON members this morning:

“I’ve been reinstated today and would like to thank you all for your great support and solidarity which made this possible. We have to also stand collectively and strongly with both Max and Steve until they are reinstated since they did not do anything wrong either. I hope to see you and thank you at UNISON AGM today at 12:30”

Thanks to everyone who helped make this happen.  The campaign continues, as Max and Steve are still suspended.


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Union Home article about Max, Jawad and Steve’s case

‘We can win. We will win. We must win.’ – London Met University Dispute

by Louise Raw on Friday March 08, 2013

“Management at London Metropolitan University (LMU) have suspended three staff members and subjected 2 more to hours of interviews. A packed meeting on Tuesday called for their immediate reinstatement, as union officials and colleagues accused management of attempted union busting and victimisation.”

Read the whole article on the Union Home website

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Union News video of our public meeting

Please follow this link for a video of our meeting from Union News:


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URGENT – call to action – reinstate Jawad Max & Steve TODAY!

Dear friends

URGENT: Jawad has his second hearing today!


At 4pm TODAY Wed 6th March


We need you to tell the Vice Chancellor a simple message

‘End the witch hunt!

Reinstate Jawad, Max and Steve!



You can send him this simple message by any or all of these and do it NOW so his office are in no doubt (pls be polite) that today Jawad has your full support:

Fax: 020 7133 2476

Phone 020 7133 2001


‘Like’ this page on Facebook

And post a link to our blog:

Email the VC



‘PCS general secretary, Mark Serwotka told a public meeting held near the university last night: “What is at stake here is that an incompetent management, when everyone can see that a tissue of lies this is, can get away with victimising or ultimately sacking people on such a trumped up set of charges.

“I cannot think of a more important reason for trade unions everywhere to get behind this campaign.

“Because if we can stop it here, it sends an equally powerful message to everybody on our side, which is – when we stand together we can win and stop them in their tracks.”

For a full report of our packed rally last night, see here:


You! And now tell your friends and family – pls fwd this to everyone you know.


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Suspension facts – Download the suspension fact sheet

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Professor Steve Jefferys’ letter to London Met governors

Dear Governor,

l have worked at Londonmet since 2000 as a research professor. In 2002 I jointly founded and then led the Working Lives Research Institute as its Director. In August 2012 I was appointed Director of the new Faculty Advanced Institute for Research within FSSH, now the largest faculty in the university. In its first 10 years the WLRI brought £7m revenue to the university from externally funded projects. In that time we won 6 ESRC grants, 7 EU DG Research Framework grants, 3 Leverhulme Trust, 2 Nuffield Trust, 2 Joseph Rowntree Foundation and 2 British Library grants. During this time we secured 34 grants carrying out research of trade unions in the UK and Europe, and carried out 13 studies for UK Government departments, 2 for Norwegian government agencies and one for the French ministry of labour. My most recent appraisal (January 2013) states

He has also played an important role in supporting senior managers in the Faculty both through his invaluable contribution at management and executive groups but also in his wider role in the University. I’m indebted to Steve for his support and contribution throughout this period.

Yesterday, however, after a preliminary investigation lasting 45 minutes, and just four weeks after Jawad Botmeh, one of the WLRI admin staff, was elected staff governor, l was suspended with instant effect by the HR Director for “potential gross misconduct” five years ago by not referring Jawad’s original application in 2008 for a part-time three-month casual secretarial appointment as a maternity cover to the Deputy Vice Chancellor, my then line manager. I had recommended the appointments of 15 casual staff before Jawad without referring any of them to the DVC, and had not been informed by the university that anyone who declared a criminal conviction should be referred upwards. If I had been informed that this was the policy, as I told the investigation today, I would have adhered to it. But I was not told this was the case, and no-one at the hearing today could refer me to a policy suggesting we should discriminate against people who had served prison sentences, or against people with particular kinds of convictions. Neither, during the first decade of the WLRI when a total of 50 staff were recruited was I ever given or offered any training in recruitment procedures. So when I was asked by one of my admin staff, Max Watson, whether or not I considered that Jawad’s application should be treated in the normal way, I looked at his CV, covering letter and reference, which included the fact that he had an OU degree and Coventry University MA and had been a prisoner’s representative for equalities, and replied yes. That is then what happened. Three other colleagues interviewed him for this casual post, and decided to recommend to me that I appoint him, which is what I did. The WLRI mission to undertake ‘academic, applied and socially-committed research and teaching emphasising equality and social justice into all aspects of working lives’ includes both appointing a highly diverse workforce and offering people a second chance.

Jawad worked effectively, diligently and was an excellent colleague, and when in 2010 an 18-month post was advertised, he applied for it – and declared his conviction on a form which this time procedure meant went to HR, who then organised the interview and upon his being recommended by a three-strong interview panel wrote to him offering him the post. HR approved the post, and in so doing endorsed my earlier decision not to make his lengthy prison experience a reason for not employing him. A month later, the University dismissed him because of a Home Office letter saying incorrectly he did not have the right to work; but a week later when they revised this advice the University reinstated him. Again it is not credible that no-one in HR opened his file at this crisis point. Back at work he continued to work effectively in his new role – as indeed he has done up to two weeks ago when he and Max Watson were both suspended. At no point prior to his election as staff governor was my initial decision not to discriminate against him in 2008 questioned. He worked for nearly five years and was praised by all who worked with him.

I sincerely do not believe I have done anything wrong. With the advantage of hindsight I might have approached the then vice chancellor or the DVC informally for their opinions. What they would have suggested can only be a matter of conjecture (I believe they actually would have said, ‘give him a chance’). But to suggest that not making that approach can – five years later – be termed ‘gross misconduct’ worthy of instant suspension is clearly unfair. Unfair on me and on the WLRI’s record in social justice research. It is also clearly unfair that Max Watson should be suspended for his involvement in the appointment. He met Jawad once and drew his attention to the vacancy we had at the WLRI, and then properly asked me whether I considered in the light of all the facts it was appropriate for consideration. Jawad, too, is being treated unfairly. He served time for a serious offence, he declared his conviction, and then worked as an excellent colleague for five years. Should ex-prisoners not be given a second chance?

Finally, I believe these suspensions are unfair on the whole university. We have come through so many problems in the last four years – some externally and some internally driven. This is not the moment to jeopardise student recruitment and our reputation again. I do hope you will exercise your influence now to secure rapid and meaningful negotiations to resolve what is a totally unnecessary conflict. 

yours truly

Professor Steve Jefferys

Director, Faculty Advanced Institute for Research,

Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities
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