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Manchester Metropolitan University’s senior managers have withdrawn permission for the UCU branch meeting tomorrow Thursday 27th April with UCU’s General Secretary originally booked for the Business School in All Saints.  

Instead we will be holding the meeting between 1 and 2pm in Academy 3, University of Manchester Student Union, Oxford Road, Manchester.

We know that many students and staff at MMU, whether they are trades unionists or not will abhor this last-minute underhand ban.

Our platform of speakers comprises the UCU General Secretary Sally Hunt, our branch Chair, our Secretary and a Crewe-based Convenor.   No other speakers have been invited.  Only UCU members were invited to attend.  The meeting was approved by HR in the usual way.   Only a few weeks ago, Sally Hunt addressed a meeting on the Crewe site.  There were no riots.  Not a single manager raised an objection.

We are academics.  Our business is open debate.

So why the sudden reversal?

Management say that the decision was based on the fact that other UCU branches proposed to attend to show their support and to hear the General Secretary of our union speaking in Manchester.  That is true.  We did invite other UCU members from the North West.  The other deciding factor was that a Labour Party branch in Cheshire posted inaccurate information about our event on their Facebook page, claiming amongst other things to have been invited to speak.  This is not true.

MMU UCU branch stands for freedom of expression.  We stand for the right to dissent. We stand for the right to organise as a trade union.  We don’t expect to be excluded from the University site because of fake news.

Here is the link to UCU’s press release on the ban:

https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/8752/Shock-as-Manchester-Metropolitan-University-bans-union-meeting

​ Julie Wilkinson
MMU UCU Branch Secretary

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