Friday, 31 August 2012

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Stop the Squeeze! The real cost of Higher Education

"Stop the Squeeze! The real cost of Higher Education. A public meeting organised by UNISON, UCU and Unite branches"
Lunch provided. ULU, Malet Street.
12th September, 13.00 – 14.00, Malet Suite, third floor.
Did you know…
- Women working in HE earn on average 15% less than men?
- HE staff have received a real terms pay cut of over 10% in 3 years?
- Courses are being cut and students will be paying more for less?
- Many staff are paid less than the London Living Wage?
- Pay for vice-chancellors continues to soar – by up 80% last year?
Come and find out what we can do, as we prepare for a ballot for industrial action in October.
Students and staff welcome.
Poster attached here: unionposter[1]

ISM’s response to the Rachel Corrie trial verdict

The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is deeply concerned by the verdict of Judge Oded Gershon that absolved Israel's military and state of the 2003 murder of American ISM activist Rachel Corrie. Rachel was crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer while protesting the demolition of a Palestinian home in the Gaza Strip.

Despite the American administration stating that the Israeli military investigation had not been "thorough, credible and transparent" and the Israeli government withholding key video and audio evidence, Judge Gershon found no fault in the investigation or in the conclusion that the military and state were not responsible for Rachel's death. Judge Gershon ruled  that Rachel was to blame for her own murder and classifies her non-violent attempt to prevent war crimes as proof that Rachel was not a "thinking person".

By disregarding international law and granting Israeli war criminals impunity Judge Gershon's verdict exemplifies the fact that Israel's legal system cannot be trusted to administer justice according to international standards.The ISM calls on the international community to hold Israel accountable by supporting the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) and continuing to join the Palestinian struggle in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Describing the situation in Gaza 2 days before she was killed, Rachel said, "I'm witnessing the systematic destruction of a people's ability to survive. It's horrifying."  Rachel's analysis holds true today, confirmed by the United Nations a day before this ruling, which reported that Gaza would not be "liveable" by 2020 barring urgent action.

The verdict is a green light for Israeli soldiers to use lethal force against human rights defenders and puts Palestinian and International human rights defenders in mortal danger.

This will not deter us. As long as our Palestinian sisters and brothers want our presence, the ISM will continue to find ways to break Israel's siege, and stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people. As Rachel's mother Cindy put it, "There were children behind the walls of the home Rachel was trying to protect...We should have all been there".

Judge Gershon's verdict is a travesty of justice but it is not exceptional.  As a rule the Israeli legal system provides Israeli soldiers impunity to commit murder. The only Israeli soldier convicted of manslaughter since the outbreak of the second Intifada in 2000 was Taysir Hayb, a Bedouin citizen of Israel for shooting British ISM volunteer Tom Hurndall in the back of the head with a sniper rifle as Tom was carrying a child to safety. At least 6,444 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli occupation forces in this period, with no justice for them or their families.            



Monday, 20 August 2012

UNISON members are behind our campaign to stop their neoliberal experiment

London Metropolitan University needs further industrial action like we need a hole in the head, but current management give us no choice with their plans to privatise large swaths of back-office functions (Report, 15 August). Since the G4S Olympics fiasco, does anybody still believe the private sector delivers improved services or savings? London Met's vice-chancellor, Malcolm Gillies, and his friend in government, David Willetts, certainly do, and so does Willetts' close adviser Jonathan Woodhead, who since the general election has worked for London Met. But no one outside the upper echelons of power at London Met Uni does, and certainly not Unison members, who are fully behind our campaign to stop their neoliberal experiment on our already troubled university. An industrial action ballot is imminent if the university goes ahead to sign a contract with Capita, Wipro or BT Global – all of whom have a horrendous record in messing up public services elsewhere and have a tendency to send jobs overseas to save money.

Catherine Maguire, Max Watson London Met Unison, Sara Wright, Naomi Bain, Molly Cooper, Sandy Nicoll Unison Higher Education, London

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

We'll do everything within our means to stop this nightmare

Max Watson, chairman of the London Met branch of Unison, the trade union representing support staff at the university, warned of industrial unrest. He said: "Our current management appears to be hell bent on deeply damaging our university's reputation and risk permanently scarring already bad industrial relations with the ideologically-driven privatisation of London Met.

"They aim to gamble millions of public-sector funds on the free market as if they have learnt nothing from the most recent G4S Olympics security fiasco.

"Unison members have made it clear that they are appalled by these proposals, which have no support beyond the vice-chancellor's office. We shall never agree to the wide-scale privatisation of our university and we shall do everything within our means to stop this nightmare becoming reality."

Thursday, 9 August 2012

From Camden to Senate House - we can and must resist

Today I went to a very well attended meeting at Senate House to discuss our national ballot for industrial action to break the pay freeze. I referred to an accessible and comprehensive report on-line which gives a flavour of the pain our members are suffering under the current government.

I also referred to the inspired leadership and strategy shown by the determined action of the Camden parking enforcement officers UNISON strike, who are out today (see photo from rally I had the honour to visit o the way to Senate House), tomorrow and Saturday in a bitter struggle for a living wage. Please send messages of support and cheques for as much as your branch can possibly afford, to Camden UNISON Branch.

Thanks for organising, and solidarity greetings to Senate House Branch Sec, Josephine Grahl and to George Binette, Branch Sec at Camden for their tireless efforts. We need more like them in our movement, we really do.

You got a lotta nerve ...

You got a lotta nerve
To say you are my friend
When I was down
You just stood there grinning

You got a lotta nerve
To say you got a helping hand to lend
You just want to be on
The side that's winning

You say I let you down
You know it's not like that
If you're so hurt
Why then don't you show it

You say you lost your faith
But that's not where it's at
You had no faith to lose
And you know it

I know the reason
That you talk behind my back
I used to be among the crowd
You're in with

Do you take me for such a fool
To think I'd make contact
With the one who tries to hide
What he don't know to begin with

You see me on the street
You always act surprised
You say, "How are you?" "Good luck"
But you don't mean it

When you know as well as me
You'd rather see me paralyzed
Why don't you just come out once
And scream it

No, I do not feel that good
When I see the heartbreaks you embrace
If I was a master thief
Perhaps I'd rob them

And now I know you're dissatisfied
With your position and your place
Don't you understand
It's not my problem

I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
And just for that one moment
I could be you

Yes, I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
You'd know what a drag it is
To see you

Bob Dylan, 1965

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

We're All In It Together Album Launch

Join me in pledging to march for A Future That Works on October 20

Join me in pledging to march for A Future That Works on October 20
Join me in pledging to march for A Future That Works on October 20


I pledge to march with the TUC in London on 20 October I can't be at the march in person, but want to help show my support by joining the fight online Please select one of the above This march is just one step in a long campaign to get our government to change course from their dangerous and damaging programme of cuts and austerity. If you choose to receive further contacts from us, we'll keep you updated by email on logistical information about the march, and on other online campaign action fro...


Friday, 3 August 2012

Don't be put off - vote to reject!

Don't be put off by the alarmist language or bullied by the other larger service groups who are recommending to accept. We've already won huge concessions - we are repeatedly told so after all, I've been told twice they're phenomenal(!) concessions - and that was after just one day strike action ... plus the UCU are still in dispute so in our sector we're in a strong position.

Anyway, if you do accept then don't come crying to me when you're still working aged 68 and looking forward to a devalued pension!