Suspension of Jawad Botmeh and Max Watson – stop the witch hunt!

The management at London Metropolitan University has suspended two activists in the support staff union, Unison – Jawad Botmeh and Max Watson – as part of their union-busting activity, which includes a threat to derecognise Unison. They need our solidarity.

You can read more about what is happening, including a regularly updated list of solidarity messages, on the London Met Unison website.

The NCAFC sends its solidarity to Max and Jawad, and calls on student activists to mobilise in their defence.

What you can do:

• Send messages of support and solidarity to [email protected], either as an individual or from your student union, anti-cuts group etc – and ask others to do the same.
• Donations to support campaigning – cheques to UNISON London Metropolitan University gratefully received.
• Watch out for upcoming protests (a demo took place on Wednesday 13 February).

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  1. Statement in support of Jawad Botmeh, by Max Watson, from today’s demo

    I am sorry I cannot be here in person to tell you how proud I am that our UNISON Branch has decided to launch a campaign today in defence of both Jawad and myself.

    I have been advised not to be seen to breach any terms of my suspension and to stay away from the premises.

    On Thursday last week a ‘Kangaroo court’ summonsed me to a hearing that lasted 30 minutes. I had no time to prepare and I had no indication what it was concerning.

    I was denied the right to a full time official to accompany me and in fact Harry Lister was physically barred from entering the room.

    I was asked about “my role in the appointment of Jawad”. I am proud to have worked with Jawad for five years at the Working Lives Research Institute. I was impressed and honoured by the fact that my colleagues, like me, looked beyond his prison sentence and instead on his ability to do the job.

    We gave Jawad an opportunity to move on from his past, to work, to have dignity in his life and we have never looked back.

    He is now a friend and a comrade. He has never swerved in his support for the union which he joined right away and which supported his campaign against his miscarriage of justice.

    As the Chair of UNISON, I have been involved in fight against job cuts, outsourcing, and the UKBA and in return, in the last four years I have faced constant attacks from management which have recently built up into a crescendo of slanderous statements against me.

    Finally, they decided to suspend me last week.

    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.

    Never stop fighting. No matter what they do to Jawad today, this is just the beginning.

    Solidarity forever and ever!

    Max Watson, Chair London Met UNISON and NEC

  2. Solidairity!

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