Monday, 3 August 2015

#DefendMax update & thanks for all the support so far

logo by Rev Angel Designs
My last day at work was Friday 31st July so whilst the campaign to #DefendMax continues I wanted to update people and thank everyone for their support for our branch campaign against compulsory redundancies so far. 

Firstly we have an appeal lined up against my redundancy, which is clearly unfair and we believe is due to my trade union activities. That will be in late August or early September (still to be agreed). 

There was also a redeployment opportunity and I expressed interest in a post but news of this role has mysteriously gone silent. During the wait for the appeal, however, technically I'm still eligible for redeployment. 

If those two avenues (the appeal or the alternative position) are not fruitful, and I'm not kept on at London Met, we shall have no other option left but a legal challenge and we are currently exploring this avenue. 

So I wanted to add that whilst this is ongoing the campaign continues: the petition to sign is here, and the photo campaign to tweet #DefendMax is here.

I wanted to thank a few people before disappearing on annual leave: firstly, Gail, my partner has had to put up with hearing about the ongoing saga of London Met Uni since she left the Women's Library in 2012. This is more than most people could bare and I'm forever in her debt for her unswerving support. 

Claire Locke was elected Chair of our Branch the day Bob Crow tragically died and is of his ilk. She leads the toughest branch in all of Higher Education and has to face up to a horrific employer who is hell-bent on making our lives a misery. She lead the rally at our first ever UNISON strike that was not co-ordinated with the UCU (the majority union); her fantastic organising skills and determination mean whatever happens next we can be confident the branch leadership is in good hands. 

There are too many other individuals to mention but John Burgess and Paul Holmes have been incredibly supportive in extremely difficult times over the months and years of struggle.  

As Jeremy Corbyn has changed everything, he deserves a mention too. He has never questioned supporting our branch whenever we've needed and immediately agreed to co-launch our petition against job cuts. Since then we've been excited and inspired by the campaign to elect him as Labour leader: it teaches us, 'anything is possible...' 

Dave Prentis lends his support for #DefendMax
Dave Prentis has pledged 'all necessary resources' to win this campaign, without hesitation. And Wendy Nicholls, the national President, equally stated unequivocal solidarity as soon as we requested it and again at the NEC last week.

My brother mocked up the fantastic #LondonMetCalling by 'The Strike' Clash album mix-up,  which I liked so much the branch printed me a tee-shirt version of it. Jon Rogers called it 'arguably the best strike leaflet in the modern era'! Jon himself also played an important role speaking at some of our rallies on behalf of the NEC, as have other London NEC reps Sonya Howard and Helen Davies.

Sandy Nicoll from SOAS has become a good friend and comrade over years of supporting each other. He will always go the extra mile every time he's needed to help out. We even went on strike on his birthday, 24th July, by coincidence, and we'll never forget singing Happy Birthday to him at the end of our strike rally!

With Claire Locke, Sandy Nicoll, Ros Hanmer,
Helen Davies, Sonya Howard and Alex Tarry
All the members in the branch have been incredible and some of the statements of support for my appeal hearing literally brought tears to my eyes due to the sensitive nature of their situations.

The reps have been brilliant, as ever. London Met UNISON is a fantastic branch to be leading and I remain their humbly elected Branch Secretary and very proud to have been in leading roles since 2009. And, as others have already said: we've beaten them before, so we can beat them again.

The 757 (and counting) people who have signed our petition so far. 

I should also thank the anonymous DJ who sent us about three hours of music to play at our last rally. Sadly, it rained heavily so we had to stop early but we had a great time in spite of the rain. And the equally anonymous person who projected our strike message onto the London Met tower two nights before the strike...

With the messages of solidarity, the help and support from all the above and more, I have never felt alone in this struggle.

Oh, and last but not least a big shout going out to 'Rev Angel Designs' for the lovely logo design (at top of post), called 'Sexy' by Dave Smith of Blacklisting fame! If you want a cool new logo for your campaign, check it out. 

So, this ain't over by any means. We intend to continue our struggle for justice in the workplace, against job cuts and attacks on our union.

We're going to take this all the way, "until the wheels fall off and burn..." But this is it from me for a little while as I'm about to go unplugged whilst I'm on holiday for a couple of weeks.  

Until then, as they always say on the SOAS UNISON Justice for Cleaners picket lines:

"Hasta la victoria, siempre!"

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