Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Statement in support of Jawad Botmeh

I am sorry I cannot be here in person to tell you how proud I am that our UNISON Branch has decided to launch a campaign today in defence of both Jawad and myself.

I have been advised not to be seen to breach any terms of my suspension and to stay away from the premises. 

On Thursday last week a 'Kangaroo court' summonsed me to a hearing that lasted 30 minutes. I had no time to prepare and I had no indication what it was concerning.

I was denied the right to a full time official to accompany me and in fact Harry Lister was physically barred from entering the room. 

I was asked about "my role in the appointment of Jawad". I am proud to have worked with Jawad for five years at the Working Lives Research Institute. I was impressed and honoured by the fact that my colleagues, like me, looked beyond his prison sentence and instead on his ability to do the job. 

We gave Jawad an opportunity to move on from his past, to work, to have dignity in his life and we have never looked back. 

He is now a friend and a comrade. He has never swerved in his support for the union which he joined right away and which supported his campaign against his miscarriage of justice. 

As the Chair of UNISON, I have been involved in fight against job cuts, outsourcing, and the UKBA and in return, in the last four years I have faced constant attacks from management which have recently built up into a crescendo of slanderous statements against me. 

Finally, they decided to suspend me last week. 

This is not about me or Jawad, in the end. It is about our right, as workers, to organise in the workplace and to elect our own reps. It's about justice and solidarity for those who put their head above the parapet. It's about every one of us standing should to shoulder in defence of our jobs and in defence of our right to organise. 

Never stop fighting. No matter what they do to Jawad today, this is just the beginning. 

Solidarity forever and ever!

Max Watson, Chair London Met UNISON and NEC 


  1. Hi Max

    It is thanks to your support and specifically Jawads' huge effort and willingness to work way beyond his job description, that Working Lives has a vibrant first ever cohort of Doctorate students on the DProf course.

    I know this as I am one of those who has seen how dedicated and supportive Jawad has been to post grad students over the last 3 years. London Met has appalling central administration and management - laughable to those of us from the business communities who London Met aspires to engage.

    Jawad personally sorted out huge administrative nightmares for me, these restricted my ability to study and raised huge questions about London Mets' ability to deliver what I had paid for, despite the excellent support of Working Lives teaching and support staff. Jawad directly addressed every issue I had and was the difference between me - and others - taking our research proposals to other Higher Educational establishments.

    I'm absolutely disgusted to hear about this today. I own two business' and I'm exactly the type of person the Management at London Met should see as its target audience in relation to its business plan.

    The time-lag in your suspension (how long ago was Jawad employed?), the highly questionable process that lead to this suspension and the treatment of you and Jawad proves the ever growing reputation London Met Management is building is accurate; that of an organisation that has no business acumen whatsoever, does not have the ability to manage staff and would be the last place I would look to be involved with professionally the day after my studies finish.

    I'm disgusted. Please let me know what support I can offer to expose and address the knee jerk badly planned victimisation short sighted managers have imposed on you two.


    Dan Dowling.

  2. Max,

    You and Jawad have my full support. I don't pretend to know the ins and outs of your working lives, your union activities or your relationships (or otherwise) with management. I do know, however, that during my association with London Met you have both been helpful and attentive to the point that nothing is too much trouble; this against a backdrop of managerial fiascos and a steady institutional retreat from essential values.

    If there is anything I can do to help, just ask.

    Chris Blunkell

  3. We support you Max and Jawad and not only because you provided support for us students when we went on occupation for our rights when the university management decided we have none (shutting down courses, while people were studying them, increasing tuition fees, shutting down learning development unit and writing center, etc. ) but also because you are the people, who are worthy to struggle for! You always listened to us in contrary to our management... You are the people, who always stood on the morally just side, on the contrary to our management, who only cares about money - for themselves ... All the problems our university is going through is because of the greedy management, the old that put our university in financial trouble and the new that continually is perpetrating injustices towards students and stuff of the university ...
    Keep your struggle going we support you wherever we are ... and will be on your side ready to help ...

    Alumni BA IR & ID
    Member of SU
    Representative of Research Unit
    President of LMPS
    Member of Feminist Society

  4. Solidarity from Vietnam! !!

    Don't let the bastards get you down


  5. Max,

    Solidarity from a member of UNISON. I don't know you that well but I have heard about you a lot. And everything I have heard has been positive. I know you are a conscientious comrade trade unionist who works tirelessly to defend the rights of the workers. No wonder the bastards are out to get you. I am discussing this with our branch exec to give you our full support. I wish you success in your struggles

  6. Max / Jawad
    I am appalled to hear about this treatment of you. The pair of you have been part of a wonderful team at London Met that have shown tremendous support to our DProf cohort. Nothing has been too much effort for you, always going way beyond your own role to ensure that our studies are as smooth as possible. I hope that these ridiculous charges are immediately dropped. I am fully behind you and sorry I cannot make the lobby today. Best of luck.
    Darren O'Grady

  7. Max/Jawad,

    As shocking as this situation is, I hope you take some strength from the response.

    I know this isn't a great time for you personally, but as someone at the DProff at WLRI I can attest to you hard work and commitment to LMU/WLRI and the students that come through its doors.

    On behalf of the UCU branch at Ruskin College I extend a message a support and solidarity.

    Ian Manborde

  8. dont give up Max

    Solidarity and warm regards from Switzerland!!!

    Adam Rogalewski

  9. Thanks for the amazing support you've all shown, here and elsewhere, all of you - it really has made such a difference. Solidarity forever! Max

  10. Comrades,

    You can count on my support for your struggle against injustice and unfairness.

    As you already know, Jeremy Corbyn has sent a letter of support to the university, which has now been endorced by Islington North Labour Party.

    Last night I reported your situation to Islington TUC, and offer you support on their behalf too.

    In solidarity,

    Gary Heather
    Islington TUC

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