We would like to state our solidarity with the students currently occupying London Metropolitan University’s Cass building in protest against the selling off their Aldgate campus. As a group of casualised university workers, we are outraged by the course closures and job losses that will result from the ill thought-out move to the Holloway campus and the impact this will have on staff and students alike.
It is imperative to show support to those who are most affected by the mismanagement and profit driven solutions implemented by university management, particularly as attacks on Higher Education (HE) continue, resulting in the steady increase of casualised and insecure jobs across the sector and the cutting of courses across many universities in the UK. Invariably, as we can see at the Cass, those who bear the brunt of these measures are working class and POC students who comprise a large number of those studying at London Metropolitan University, due to its history and location. The specific cutting of arts courses also contributes to making the artistic and cultural sector the preserve of economically and culturally privileged individuals.
We are concerned about the job losses for those who already find themselves in precarious employment positions, such as technicians and casualised teaching staff, but also permanent employees. As we fight for improvement in our own working conditions at Queen Mary, another local campus, we understand the pressures felt by colleagues now facing unemployment in a climate where job security across the HE sector is declining.
Finally, we want to express our solidarity with the staff and students of the Cass specifically as students and staff also based in Tower Hamlets, one of London’s poorest and unequal boroughs. The proposed sell-off of the Aldgate campus as prime property development to cover the debt accrued by London Met’s management is not only a cynical move against its own students, but also against the local populations facing displacement and destitution through the obscene financialisation of the London property market – a situation higher education institutions should refuse to participate in.
We wish the current occupation and all of the on-going campaigns all the best chances of success. Solidarity from QMAC – Queen Mary Against Casualisation.