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Strikes

Strike action is expected to take place at Goldsmiths on the following dates:

 

  • Monday 7 and Tuesday 8 February
  • Monday 14 to Friday 18 February, inclusive
  • Monday 21 and Tuesday 22 February
  • 28 February to 4 March, inclusive

 

The strike action is organised by Goldsmiths UCU, and aims to prevent 52 workers being made redundant in the 'restructure' desired by university management.

Goldsmiths SU and Goldsmiths students stand in solidarity with striking workers. Their working conditions are our learning conditions.

Casualisation, job insecurity, and threats to the future of courses and entire departments will undermine the quality of higher education and its ability to enable people to transform their own lives.

At Goldsmiths SU, we will not sacrifice the prospects of future students in order to temporarily prevent disruption to the experience of current students.

What is the UCU?

The University and College Union (UCU) is a trade union for university staff.

 

UCU represent over 110,000 academics, lecturers, trainers, instructors, researchers, managers, administrators, computer staff, librarians and postgraduates in universities, colleges, prisons, adult education and training organisations across the UK.

 

Learn more about Goldsmiths UCU, the local branch that represents College staff, here.

Why is this happening?

In short, the College wants to make 52 members of staff redundant.

 

But Goldsmiths' workers don't think that management's reasons are good enough.

 

In fact, they think that the College is putting the interests of its senior managers and its bankers over the interests of current and future staff and students.

 

They also think that what's happening to Goldsmiths staff is happening to higher education all over the UK, and they are taking a stand against it - by going on strike.

 

The students of Goldsmiths agree, and we're standing in solidarity with them.

 

That's the short version of what's happened. For a more detailed explanation, read about the context of the strike action here.

Why does the SU support the strikes?

Goldsmiths SU - the representative body for all Goldsmiths students - stands in full solidarity with our lecturers, academics and professional staff who have been forced to take this difficult but necessary step.

 

You might be wondering - why? Here's the short version.

 

In the short term, these cuts will cause chaos for Goldsmiths students at a time when departments across the College are already critically understaffed, and we're still feeling the effects of the pandemic.

 

In the long term, these cuts will mean fewer courses, less individual and collective support for students, and possibly the merger - or closure - of entire academic departments.

 

We're not willing to inflict that on future Goldsmiths students.

 

For a more in-depth exploration of the SU's view on the strikes, read our critique of the reforms proposed for Goldsmiths.

How will the strikes affect me?

Some of your classes might be cancelled, and some assessments could be affected too.

 

There will be a total of 14 days of strikes, spread across four weeks.

 

It isn't possible to know for sure whether your classes and assessments will be affected, until that day.

 

That's because staff who do go on strike do not have to inform the university or their students in advance.

 

We understand that this might be frustrating, but the nature of a strike is to demonstrate how essential staff are, and how disruptive their absence will be. So it would weaken the impact and effectiveness of the strike if every striker told students in advance which days might be affected.

 

We encourage you to keep a written record of the impact that strikes have on you and your education. We've created a 'Disruption Diary' template for you, to make this as easy as possible.

Will I get compensation for this disruption?

Maybe.

 

To receive compensation, you will need to make a formal complaint to the College. This will have to be done on an individual basis, rather than as a group of students.

 

We have put together this guide to the complaints process. It covers what compensation you might receive, information you should include, and where complaints should be sent.

 

We don't know yet when it will be the right time to submit a complaint, but we will let you know as soon as that becomes clear.

What can I do to support these strikes?

Lots!

 

It's important to remember that this isn't only an issue that affects academics. This will have horrendous effects on education as a whole.

 

Students have a lot of power and you should not underestimate how much weight your voice can carry.

 

Together with Goldsmiths UCU, we have put together a list of possible actions you can take to show your support and solidarity with the strike.

What happens to the money saved by the College if they don't pay striking workers?

Alongside Goldsmiths UCU, we strongly condemn Goldsmiths University managements refusal to put money from saved wages during the strikes into the Student Hardship Fund like previous years.

 

Here's what we think of that:

 

Joint statement from GUCU and Goldsmiths SU

 

Goldsmiths UCU and Goldsmiths SU strongly condemn Goldsmiths SMT's refusal to meet GUCU's request that any revenue saved from unpaid wages while staff are on strike against redundancies be diverted into a student hardship fund.

 

This move would cost the University nothing, and would be a way of management acting on what it frequently declares is its grave concern for student welfare.

 

We are concerned that management's preference for using funds instead to improve Goldsmiths' 'long-term strategic future' will amount, in practice, to using revenue saved from unpaid wages to pay interest to Lloyds and Natwest bank.

 

We urge Goldsmiths SMT to prioritise the welfare of its students and staff over that of the banks.

I have another question...

As the voice of Goldsmiths students, we want our members to be well-informed about what is happening at their university.

 

We know that you will have a lot of questions. In particular, our international members will want to know what effect the strikes might have on their education.

 

Explore our Frequently Asked Questions here.

 

If you can't find an answer to your question, please contact our President, Sara Bafo, here.