To members of SMT (sent Weds 24 July 2019)
“We are shocked by the decision of SMT to serve a court order on occupying students at Deptford Town Hall. We do not consider that a threat to use force to end the occupation constitutes the “proportionate legal steps” referred to by the Acting Warden in her message to staff on 22 July. Such steps will only escalate the conflict and cause further reputational damage. Above all, legal action flies in the face of the College’s promise to “respect the overarching aims” (statement, 3 June 2019) of the GARA occupation.
We call on SMT immediately to rescind the court order and to demonstrate their commitment to addressing the institutionalised racism that has been highlighted by members of the occupation. We urge SMT to meet once again with GARA in order to cement the promises made in the productive meetings in June.
Finally, we are disappointed that the threat of legal proceedings was not raised in the meeting between management and union officers on 22 July. Indeed, it appears that the legal application had already been made before meeting the unions. This is far from the kind of industrial relations that fosters productive working relationships.
We will be forced to escalate our support for the occupation unless SMT call off the court order and returns to productive and meaningful discussions with the GARA occupiers.”