Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Apology to Liz Snape, Assistant General Secretary of #UNISON

Liz Snape (c) borrowed from Liverpool Echo
Regular readers and eagle-eyed among you may have noticed a blog post a couple of days ago in which I made mention of Liz Snape (LS), an Assistant Secretary of UNISON, which has its (National Executive Council (NEC) meeting today.

I had intended to attend the meeting to resign due to the loss of my job; instead I have come home to use my own personal PC to remove the offending item.

I have removed the post at the request of LS and due to any unintended offence towards her I would like to apologize her in public.

Please - if you have already shared that post - in any form or other e.g. on 'social media' e.g. Facebook or Twitter, please now share this apology too.

Further, as I have also removed the post itself you might also consider removing ('deleting') the tweet, too.

Your sincerely,

Max Watson

Max Watson

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Sandy Nicoll: 'National Executive Committee nomination request'

After a number of people having spoken to me yesterday I have decided to put myself forward as a candidate for the vacant HE NEC general seat. Obviously if there had been more time we could have discussed this more widely amongst activists.

The timetable for getting nominations in, given the nomination period from 1 December 2015 to 15 January 2016 straddles the Xmas shut down, means most branches will at best have only one potential meeting to get a valid nomination submitted.

I have been Branch Secretary at SOAS since 1996 and have held the London General seat on the HE Service Group Executive since 2010. My branch has a track record of being a fighting branch - consistently voting for industrial action over pay, leading the battle against outsourcing through our Justice for Cleaners campaign, showing solidarity with all those in the sector facing attacks, etc.

Within the last month my branch took unofficial action to prevent my victimisation at SOAS, winning a stunning victory that has not only seen my reinstatement but has set back managements plans to impose cuts and job losses which would have devastated the University.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Enough is enough! Good bye and good luck to London Met #UNISON

I want to close the chapter on the seemingly endless battle I've had with London Met University.

First thing to say is I am immensely proud of serving the members of our UNISON branch since 2008. We've had a very rough ride over the years and we've achieved a great deal: from defending jobs, The Women's Library and striving to keep services in-house, to supporting overseas students and winning the Living Wage. In addition to these hard fought campaigns, I represented, supported and advised countless members individually during these last seven years.

Since 2010 I have also served on our union's highest elected body, the National Executive Council (NEC). I am proud to have played my role in the national pensions dispute of 2011 and the Higher Education pay dispute of 2013, which - after three days of coordinated strike action - led to the highest public sector pay rise (two percent) during the last government.

The last seven years have of course been stressful at times and taken its toll.

By stepping down in the summer and triggering a vacancy election for Branch Secretary I had no doubt UNISON members would elect a leadership that will continue to resist robustly and proudly in defense of our members; be they outsourced cleaners, catering staff, maintenance staff, security guards or the directly employed workers. I was right, and Pat Bellew was duly elected at an EGM this autumn.

As a collective we have worked on so much together locally and nationally and I am proud to remember this record as an elected leading member of a union with so much potential for positive change.

So, thanks and good luck to every one for their support over the years, and especially those who supported our campaign in the summer. Too many people to thank individually, but I must mention a few leading activists who have been core supporters: Claire Locke for holding the line as Chair in the last year and a half as well as her predecessors with whom I worked alongside week in week out including Maggie Loughran and Catherine Maguire. And of course stalwarts of the branch, Allan Pike, Alex Tarry and Chris Manna.

And comrades in the UCU, most notably Mark Campbell and Cliff Snaith, have been fantastic to be shoulder to shoulder with throughout.

I miss working with you all.

I also need to put on record my enormous gratitude to those outside of the branch who have been incredibly helpful, including: Sandy Nicoll (SOAS and HE SGE) (featured in film), John Burgess (Barnet, and hopefully soon to become Gen Sec), Jeremy Corbyn (until very recently *merely* our local MP), Paul Holmes (NEC / Kirklees), Bernie Gallagher (NEC / Bolton), Jon Rogers and most of all my partner Gail Cameron who has suffered enough by living through all of this with me.

As they say in Chiapas: 'Ya basta!' Enough already!

Love 'n rage,

Max Watson

Sunday, 15 November 2015


All #UNISON members really should vote for John Burgess and any left activists out there should get involved with the John Burgess for Unison General Secretary campaign. Forget the rest - he's the only rank and file activist worth supporting; with strong a history of standing up to the Tories as Barnet Branch Secretary.

Saturday, 8 August 2015






On Thursday 27 August Max Watson, London Met Uni UNISON Branch Secretary will be making his appeal against compulsory redundancy. Max Watson, is under threat of being made redundant (sign the petition here). He is the only member of staff in his whole faculty being made compulsorily redundant and one of only three UNISON members facing compulsory redundancy among non academic staff across the whole University.
Max has proved time and again to be a staunch fighter of members' interests at the University, and UNISON believes the University is using this round of redundancies to deliberately target Max because he is a thorn in their side.


Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Why I am supprting John Burgess for General Secretary

He is not standing to increase his party's profile or play gesture politics - he is standing to win.

I believe he is the best candidate for the job for good reasons: Firstly, he has lead an inspiring campaign against a viscous Tory council for years, sometimes winning battles against all the odds. His branch have repeatedly taken strike action against the privatisation agenda of Barnet council when the received wisdom in UNISON is this cannot be done.

When London Met University declared they intended to privatise the entire back office, our branch launched a campaign of action which modeled itself on the Barnet campaign against 'Easy Council'. We took advice from John in the now infamous 'Barnet bunker' and we declared a trade dispute around the 'identity of the employer'. 

We won our campaign after weeks and months of relentless campaigning which included a trade dispute and an approved official ballot for industrial action. It was thanks in no small part to the good advice of John Burgess and the help and support of Helen Davies who went on to get elected onto the NEC twice since. 

John is energetic, charismatic, and determined. He has the intelligence and leadership qualities we need to take on this government in this brave new world of Cameron and Osborne's reign.

John has grasped the nettle of privatisation and cuts with gusto and taken legal action as well as industrial action: he fights wiht all weapons at his disposal. 

John threw his weight into a political campaign in the local elections two years ago and the Tories in Barnet almost lost their majority. 

John's support for Jeremy Corbyn, as a Labour party member, has been unequivocal from the word go.

And as a campaigner, John has embraced social media - whether it is via Facebook and Twitter - evidence by his regular updates and growing army of followers. His imaginative songs on Youtube or cartoons and animations with Tim Sanders have truly inspired the rest of us whilst we try to play catch up. 

I believe others with their hat in the ring, whilst great candidates, know in their hearts john has the track record and a high profile 'candidate of struggle and they should quickly withdraw in his favour: we can then discuss how we can all can strengthen his campaign to ensure it become the kind of grass roots movement, with all aspects of the left on board, that Jeremy Corbyn has managed to lead.   

We need a new leadership, we need John's leadership.