UCU union

Goldsmiths lecturers fight 132 job cuts

22 April 2024

Goldsmiths University in southeast London is no stranger to conflict. Students occupied administration buildings for 32 days last term, demanding the university divest funds from Gaza and condemn Israel’s genocide of the Palestinians. Now the lecturers are poised for action.

For the fourth time in five years management has come forward with a proposal for cuts. Strikes and marking boycotts have won some success in previous years but this is the biggest round of cuts ever.
Members of our London branch attended a Southwark Trades Council meeting where we heard how management wants to cut 132 posts, 25% of the academic staff. Eleven out of 19 departments are affected, with some disappearing altogether. Arts and Humanities in particular are targeted.

This is the most extreme example (yet) of universities sacrificing their arts departments in the name of ‘balancing the books’. The government has frozen tuition fees for seven years, leaving a huge funding gap. A whole generation of students are expected to suffer.

Goldsmiths University and College Union has voted by 87% on a 63% turnout for strike action, action short of a strike and a marking and assessment boycott. As UCU member Margaret told the trades council, ‘We are starting with the marking boycott, but if they dock us full pay, which they have done in the past, we will strike.’

The branch has already voted for infinite strike action if lecturers are punished with empty pay packets.

Should this happen, they will need to rally students to their cause and seek to spread the action to other universities as quickly as possible.

This attack is ‘of national significance’, as the branch recognises. It needs to become a national call to action. London Workers Power will work to make it so.

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