13 February 2013: Two members of London Metropolitan University Unison, including the branch chair, have been suspended. Union activists launched a campaign to defend them
LMU Unison branch chair Max Watson, a contributor to Red Pepper, and fellow union activist Jawad Botmeh, recently elected as staff rep on LMU's governing body, have been suspended by the university. Branch members insist that the pair have done nothing wrong and believe Max has been targeted because of the strength and leadership he has shown as their chair.
The university has launched an investigation into a 'serious matter of concern' relating to 'gross misconduct', believed to be related to Jawad’s appointment to the university five years ago.
Jawad declared a conviction on application to work at the university. But the 1996 conviction for conspiracy to cause explosions was deemed an appalling miscarriage of justice by many including Amnesty International and his local MP Jeremy Corbyn.
Max explains 'on Thursday last week a "Kangaroo court" summoned me to a hearing that lasted 30 minutes. I had no time to prepare and I had no indication what it was concerning'.
He also states: '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.'
In December Max wrote in Red Pepper of how his union branch helped stave off privatisation proposals at the university.
How you can help
You can send messages of support and find out more on the LMU Unison branch website.
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