Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Matt Raine: I'm supporting Max Watson for NEC because...

Whenever I’m looking for great ideas to copy it's London Met UNISON branch that I turn to first. The leadership that Max has shown to his branch is inspirational. We need more people like Max leading our national union. At time of savage cuts by the Con Dem government, with proposals for less Universities and more private sector involvement we need leaders prepared to lead and fight back. That’s why Max has my full support in standing in this election.

Matt Raine
Branch Secretary, Birmingham University (personal capacity)

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Jenny Compton-Bishop: I'm supporting Max Watson for NEC because...

Max played a prominent part in turning what seemed a hopeless situation at London Met into a strong protest movement, thereby saving jobs. In doing this, he became an inspiration to all union activists.

I am confident that, as a member of UNISON's NEC, Max would be equally instrumental in building a strong movement against the threatened attacks on Higher Education by the coalition government.

I support Max's nomination to the NEC.

Jenny Compton-Bishop
Branch Secretary
Middlesex University UNISON
Higher Education Service Group Exec member
(Personal Capacity)

Sandy Nicoll: I'm supporting Max Watson for NEC because...

In Higher Education, like the public sector in general, we face huge cuts – attacks on our pay and our pensions, threatened job cuts and continued outsourcing. London Met UNISON branch has been in the eye of the storm over the last year, and Max has vital experience leading strike action against both job cuts and outsourcing. The proposals to outsource IT service provision at London Met were beaten by the UNISON branch – saving 80+ jobs in the process.

We need a national leadership prepared to take bold action and coordinate it nationally to defend ourselves against the Con-Dem onslaught. So please vote for Max Watson, HE general seat, UNISON NEC.

Sandy Nicoll

Chair, London Regional Higher Education Council
Branch Secretary, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
(Personal Capacity)

Barry Blinko: I'm supporting Max Watson for NEC because...

In Higher Education London Met has been an inspiration to us all. Firstly in their successful struggle to massively cut the number of compulsory redundancies and also in the rebuilding of the branch. I went to their last AGM which was both well attended and had many young members. The discussion was lively and informative. Max has played a leading role in achieving this success. I am certain he would provide the same dynamic leadership if elected on to the NEC. This leadership will be much needed in the times ahead.

Barry Blinko
ex-Higher Education Service Group Executive (2008 - 2010)
Westminster Uni Branch Sec ( ? - 2010)

Naomi Bain: I'm supporting Max Watson because...

I'm supporting Max Watson because he is a confident and enthusiastic activist who has proved himself in his branch and I think he is the kind of person we are going to need on the NEC in the difficult times ahead.

Naomi Bain
Birkbeck UNISON Chair
(Personal capacity)

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Allan Pike: I'm supporting Max Watson because...

Max Watson as Branch Chair at London Met is a major contributor to the development of our local branch organisation. In addition to his skills and successes in various and wide ranging campaigns, negotiations and representations on behalf of members, those attributes have extended out to the wider campaigning issues across the HE sector and beyond. He works effectively and tirelessly in his efforts to achieve those successes.

Max is highly motivated, skilled, dedicated and inspirational to those around him, those qualities would be highly beneficial to others in his standing as a representative on the general seat on the NEC.

Allan Pike
Branch Secretary
London Met University UNISON
(Personal Capacity)

Friday, 16 July 2010

Gail Cameron: I'm supporting Max because ...

I'm supporting Max because I'm confident that he's serious about defending members' jobs and resisting the decimation of Higher Eduction. He proved that last year in London Met, where he was central to our campaign against massive cuts and redundancies.

And he's the sort of person I want to see on the NEC. Here, he's shown great commitment to organising and strengthening the branch. But even more so to listening to, supporting and building the confidence of members in their ability to stand up for themselves.

Gail Cameron
Asst Branch Secretary
London Met UNISON
Personal capacity

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Call for nominations to National Executive Council (NEC), Higher Education General Seat

Max Watson, London Metropolitan University Branch

Membership number: 5260154

12 July 2010

Dear colleague,

I am seeking nominations to the Higher Education General Seat of UNISON’s National Executive Council (NEC). We all know we’re in for a very rough ride under the Con-Dem government – the question is how much of a fight are we prepared to put up? I am currently Chair of London Metropolitan University Branch, and have been for the last year during one of the most dramatic disputes seen in a Higher Education institution, which was not a complete victory but certainly saved hundreds of jobs. I’m used to standing up to ‘unprecedented’ attacks.

Nationally coordinated action
It is clearly necessary for our union to take determined national industrial action if we are to face up to the current challenges of a Con-Dem government – as recently acknowledged by our Deputy General Secretary Keith Sonnet, in a report to our NEC. We must be committed to forging new and strengthening existing alliances with other public sector trade unions and community groups. And as the second biggest union in the TUC we should make sure the TUC coordinates national industrial action and demonstrations.

At London Met we took strike action last year in defence of jobs and against outsourcing. We completely stopped the outsourcing of IT, a key part of their proposals, and reduced the job cuts by 200 (and despite threatening ‘wide-scale’ compulsories, in the end they made less than 50). One of the keys to our campaign success was unity in action with both the UCU and the Students’ Union.

Since our campaign of action last year, our branch has gone from strength to strength because we set out to organise for action. Today our members continue to show a willingness to take action: in the consultation this summer, our branch sent ballot papers to all our members, and won a ‘Yes’ vote on all three questions: 66% ‘Yes’ for striking over pay; 77% ‘Yes’ to strike over national job security, and 87% ‘Yes’ to striking over local redundancies. We should be able to replicate these results nationally with a fighting leadership.

Another key to good organising is good communication. Under my branches leadership, we have pioneered the effective use of new media – our new website is seen as exemplary in our region ( and it’s widely praised by our members. The ‘Save London Met’ campaign website – which I set up and managed in 2009 – is now mirrored as a template throughout the HE sector: ( We have revived our branch newsletter, and we even have our own ‘YouTube’ channel (

We know that women and black workers and students will be hardest hit by the Tory onslaught – at London Met it was the same. We fought tooth and nail to defend our nursery, for example; watch our most popular film online to get a taste of that campaign: ‘Save Hornsey Road Nursery’.

Educate, Agitate, Organise
Before being elected Chair I was Assistant Secretary, and before that, Young Members officer. I’ve been a member of UNISON since starting work at London Met, in Feb 2006. I was catapulted into our branch leadership because I showed a willingness to fight. So I was thrown in at the deep end and have since then demonstrated my ability to agitate, educate and, crucially, to organise. I have inspired several new activists to get involved too, and our exec committee is full of energetic, enthusiastic activists. Our exec meets every two weeks, and our AGM is well attended - we had five reps go to the HE Service Group conference, and three to National Delegates Conference.

In the last two weeks alone, we have recruited two new shop stewards on to our committee. Membership is on the up, despite last year’s jobs bloodbath. One full-time official who came to our AGM told me it the best attended they had seen, that our branch was ‘blossoming’.

Democracy and accountability
This year our branch formally registered our dismay at the witch-hunt of leftists in UNISON, writing to protest against the unjustified take over of Greenwich, Bromley and Tenants Services Authority branches. I’m not in the Socialist Party, the SWP or the Labour Party: I am an independent socialist and a member of the United Left network. A union is not a political party – we must celebrate differences of opinion and encourage open debate, not stifle it. Pursuing politically motivated disciplinary action against committed activists is a terrible waste of resources when we face attacks on a scale never seen before. We need all of our activists and staff of our union working together to fight the Con-Dem attacks on us. United we stand, divided we fall.

To sum up, I’m an old fashioned union militant, but not old. I’m dynamic and of the left, but not dogmatic. I can educate, agitate, organise and inspire others around me to do the same.

Nominate ‘Max Watson, London Metropolitan University’ for a fighting candidate on the NEC who will speak up on your behalf.

In solidarity,

Max Watson

Thanks for taking the time to read this – I know how busy you all are. Please also find the time to nominate before the tight deadline of 6th August. If you haven’t received a nomination form yet, call: 0845 355 0845 or visit:

'Dignity and respect at all times'

From UNISON's rule book and for NEC elections:

Attention is drawn to UNISON Rule, Schedule C, Rule 5 and Rule B 4.6 Aims and Objectives “to seek to ensure that members, activists, representatives and staff are treated with dignity and respect at all times when participating in the union’s democratic structures.”

Anyone commenting on this campaign or this website without following that basic 'do as you would be done by' golden rule, will be removed from my Xmas card list. OK?