Thursday, 30 September 2010

Even the rats are supporting Max Watson...

Sue Gallagher: I'm supporting Max Watson because...

"I'm supporting Max Watson to serve on the NEC because having been an NEC member myself, I know only too well how important it is to have new and truthful blood on the NEC. I truly believe that Max is standing for the right reason - to put Members first. I hope all members with that ethos will vote for Max."

Sue Gallagher,
Retired, Ex Chair of Uni of Birmingham Branch
ex-NEC member (in a personal capacity)

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

QMUL organising against the cuts!

Today I went to a rally and leafleting session at Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL), to show support for their campaign against "60 and 100" staff that are "likely to be shed".

Their Principal Simon Gaskell apparently wrote to all staff to say: “We must reduce our costs, including those associated with our current staff....”

So tomorrow I'll be speaking at a meeting alongside local UNISON reps and to organise against the cuts. Join their Facebook group, QMUL against Cuts! for details, and see you tomorrow!

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Supporting Godmsith's Uni Nursery and Living Wage at UCL

Another busy day - went to nearby Goldsmith's to hand out leaflets before work starts (I live nearby). They've got a big campaign to Save their nursery as we did at London Met so I figured we have a lot in common.

Then at lunchtime went to join the Living Wage campaign lobby of UCL. Turned out to be successful - what an important victory. Really inspiring stuff!

I spoke at their lunchtime lobby to show support - we have plenty of members on poverty pay at London Met. And low pay effects not only contracted out cleaners and caterers but so many members of support staff on campus. And with our current pay offer of an insulting 0.4%, all UNISON members are being told to accept another pay cut. We must reject this and show some resolve:

Congratulations to all! We'll have to learn important lessons from the London Living Wage Campaign and we're planning our own campaign at London Met. Watch this space, as they say...

Recruited a new member this morning, had a notice board put up in our office this afternoon, and somehow got some work done during the day. Then went to a meeting of my local Anti-Cut Alliance in Lewisham. These are springing up all over the country and represent a grass roots resistance to the government's slash and burn policies. Why can't the TUC be coordinating strike action as they are elsewhere in Europe?

QMUL against cuts – protest
12pm Wednesday 29 September
Library Square, Mile End campus QMUL

QMUL against cuts – meeting
5pm Thursday 30 September
Room 113, Francis Bancroft Building
Mile End campus QMUL

Monday, 27 September 2010

Defend South Bank University

The campaign has started – ballot opens today. I went to visit London South Bank Uni (LSBU) and handed out some leaflets to a few members who were happy to take some away and give to their work-mates.

Then after work I went to a campaign meeting against the cuts at LSBU.

It had a good feel about it, with lots of debate over tactics; when and how to build a successful campaign against the cuts.

Some felt that LSBU was under a special threat and has some sort of a guinea-pig status, which sounded familiar: only yesterday we’d put out a joint union statement rubbishing the rumours about an imminent threat of bankruptcy of London Met Uni.

I spoke in the meeting about our experience and the need to forge unity between support staff (UNISON), teaching staff (UCU), and students – our key strength at LondonMet is that unity. Got a warm round of applause, of course :)

There was a further discussion about linking up with ‘outside groups’ and community activists such as the Latin American workers association, the local Save our Services group, Education Activist Network, and the CAFC. I also raised one of the strengths of the campaign at Tower Hamlets college last year, which mobilised large local demonstrations and they proved a key weapon in their (successful) fight.

The campaign against cuts at South Bank has the potential to be one of the livelier, key campaigns on campus this year. Watch this space for some kind of action on 12 October.

If we are going to win our struggles against cuts to pay, jobs and services, UNISON must unite with students and UCU, putting aside differences. Why, for example, isn’t UNISON also supporting the National Demo on 10th November against Education cuts?

Tomorrow: Living Wage Campaign Lobby at UCL.

Max Watson for NEC: Election Address

We’re in for a rough ride under the ConDem government and we know it. The question is: how much of a fight will we put up?

As Chair of London Metropolitan University Branch, I’ve been in the eye of the storm over the last couple of years and proven myself willing and able to lead a campaign of action against cuts and outsourcing. We won significant victories – reducing the job cuts by 200, stopping the plans to outsource IT (saving 80 jobs in the process), and forcing the entire Board of Governors to resign in disgrace.

Now the entire public sector faces an unprecedented onslaught on our jobs, services, pensions and pay, and a continued threat of privatisation and outsourcing. Nationally we must stand strong and throw everything we’ve got into defending ourselves and we must believe in our ability to win.

I’ve got vital experience leading my branch in strike action against job cuts, and we are now going from strength to strength. I want to bring that experience on to the NEC. Actions speak louder than words: we will have to take determined national industrial action to face up to the Con-Dem government.

United we stand

We need unity in action. At London Met this was our key weapon; united with the UCU and with students. We should strengthen the cross-union ‘United for Education’ campaign and when possible we should coordinate action with our sister unions in the education sector. As with our best local campaigns, UNISON should play a leading role in defending jobs in education, never playing second fiddle to the academics.

We fought tooth and nail to save our nursery at London Met, defending low paid women workers and students. I applaud those other branches struggling to save theirs, such as Greenwich, Goldsmith’s and Westminster. We must learn the lessons of Brighton’s successful campaign to save The Phoenix nursery – working with communities and developing broad alliances .

For any campaign to work, members should make the decisions, not unaccountable officials. Local branches should have more say over their own disputes: when members want to take action, as they did at KCL, Westminster or Manchester Met last year – officials should fully support them, not delay and tip-toe around legal hurdles until the momentum is lost.

We need a union that inspires us and that leads by example – such as capping top salaries and paying all officials a workers wage. You and I don’t earn £100,000 – our representatives shouldn’t either.

UNISON should be led by elected grass-roots activists, with members’ interests at its core; challenge the ConDem consensus with heart and passion; be proud to speak out for our members; celebrate and support those defending their jobs.

Vote for an independent socialist – non-aligned to any party, in the United Left alliance – with a strong track record of organising members and inspiring activists.

Please use your vote and encourage your colleagues to vote. For more visit:

Vote Max Watson - a fighting candidate, standing up for you!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Vote Max Watson leaflet

Download the Vote Max Watson postcard-sized leaflet as a pdf from here. Contact me to arrange delivery of leaflets - email me with your address and numbers of postcards required.