Template letter for the warden
This is a template for you to write to the Goldsmiths University Warden, Frances Corner, concerning the UCU strikes. This makes your voice heard on the issue whilst showing that you are supportive of UCU and the Goldsmiths lecturers and academics in their actions.
Frances’ email is email@example.com, her PA’s is H.Keogh@gold.ac.uk
To be clear this does not count as an official complaint or claim for compensation. We are encouraging students to put in a complaint for compensation after the strikes have finished. We have a ‘Disruption Diary’ to be able to provide all evidence of what teaching you have missed.
Dear Warden Frances Corner,
I am writing to you as a Goldsmiths student in x department to express my views on the UCU strikes.
While strike action is difficult for us students, as it disrupts our already stressful classes and assessments, I firmly believe this action is necessary as we need to challenge universities to become better employers that value and respect their staff.
In light of this, I implore you consider offering students compensation for their lost teaching hours, whilst ensuring the lecturers terms are agreed to.
As students, we are losing out on what we expected when we joined the university - but the buck of this does not fall on our lecturers themselves. The necessity of their strike is something I stand in solidarity with, but also reimbursement for the failure to adequately provide the education I was promised is something I call for. The two can be met - the two fall on the responsibility of management.
Research from the UCU (University and College Union) has shown that across the university sector, more than half of academics are employed on precarious contracts, pay has fallen by 17% in the last 10 years and there is still an astonishing 15.9% gender pay gap. As universities, we should be in the lead to be equitable institutions, where everyone can work, learn and study to their highest ability. Surely conditions like these only set us back?
I believe everyone deserves fair pay and working conditions, so I was shocked to find that staff pay has declined by 14% in the past decade. With 64% of staff worried about their workload, it’s no surprise that there is a mental health crisis amongst both staff and students in our university. This means our lecturers are taking more time off due to stress, and there is less consistent teaching for us. Similarly, because so many of our lecturers are on hourly-paid and casual contracts, they aren’t here for long enough to be able to invest in our university and our teaching.
Our education system should be one that is funded, accessible and lifelong; a system that reflects the needs of society. We need to protect education together. This is why I fully support UCU in their strike action and their reasons for striking, however it is for the good of everyone if the problems that have caused this dispute are reconciled as quickly as possible. This means that you should use the influence you have to write to Universities UK and ask them to recommence negotiations. This way, an equitable solution for all parties can be found quickly.
I implore you as chief custodian of the college to take immediate action to bring these strikes to an end, by instructing those who negotiate on your behalf to back down from imposing the terms they’ve arrived at and re-engage with the UCU. In the meantime, I fully expect to be financially compensated for the classes missed as a result of the strike.
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