Suspension of Trade Unionists at London Metropolitan University
may be aware that in addition to the suspension of the London Met
UNISON Chair, Max Watson, and the London Met Staff Governor, Jawad
Botmeh, Steve Jeffreys from London Met's widely respected ‘Working Lives
Research Institute’ (WLRI) has also now
been suspended. Steve is a UCU member and has made the statement
provided at the end of this email.
Further to Steve's statement
please also note that an online petition has now been created demanding
the immediate reinstatement of Max, Jawad, and Steve. The petition was
launched on Saturday 23 February and had attracted 350+ signatures by
Sunday afternoon. Please add your name to the petition and circulate the
petition link to your branch members: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/stop-the-witch-hunt-defend-max-jawad-and-steve.html
addition a new campaign blog for the reinstatement of Max, Jawad, and
Steve, that provides all the latest campaign news has been set up at: http://stopthewitchhunt.wordpress.com
London Metropolitan University UCU (Chair)
UCU National Executive Committee
Dear Trade Union Friends,
writing to let you know that I was suspended on Wednesday by Londonmet
after a 45 minute investigation into the WLRI because I appointed a
former prisoner who had served 13 years imprisonment to a part-time,
casual three month maternity cover job in our social justice Institute.
I know that his conviction in 1996 was for conspiracy to blow up the
Israeli embassy? Yes. I also knew that he had been refused parole for 6
years because he maintained his innocence, and that Paul Foot and Robert
Fisk had campaigned for him. And I saw his CV which included his having
completed an OU degree in sociology and an MA in Peace and
Reconciliation (with merit), as well has having been prisoners' rep on
But actually, although this all made him an ideal person to work with us, I felt there
was also a basic human rights issues involved. Do we give people a second chance?
inference involved in my suspension and possible disciplinary action is
that either I was involved in some highly sophisticated conspiracy to
place a Palestinian terrorist 'sleeper' in a position where he could
influence young minds and eventually get elected as staff governor
(which five years after Jawad Botmeh started work has now triggered
three suspensions), or that I was criminally stupid.
knows me or my work knows that I am a principled socialist. But for me,
my decision not to discriminate against this applicant whom I had never
met, and whom Max Watson (a now very active UNISON trade unionist who
is also suspended) had met once at a party is actually the survival of a
liberal approach to others in my university. If a Research Institute
dedicated to the promotion of social justice in a public institution
will not give someone like
Jawad the chance to work, who else will?
You'll realise that we
are all in a state of shock. Three of the 13 WLRI staff are now
suspended. Two others are still under investigation. I fear for our
future - just weeks after celebrating our tenth anniversary.
UCU and UNISON are united in supporting the three of us who are
suspended - and your protest, and those you can encourage others to
take, will strengthen their hands in the 'informal contacts' that are
taking place in the hope of preventing the university from taking the
next step of firing those it has suspended.
thanks in advance
all the best