Still collecting signatures here
We, the undersigned staff in the Department of Educational Studies, wish to echo the statement of support issued by colleagues in the Department of Art, and offer solidarity to all colleagues on AL, GTT and fixed term contracts facing loss of income in the middle of a pandemic.
We recognise that these colleagues bring immense knowledge, experience and diversity to our college. They are a critical component of course delivery and College cannot meet its obligations to students without them.
We support colleagues across the College currently withdrawing from marking and unpaid labour in protest at the unfair and inequitable treatment they have received in the blanket refusal to extend, renew or furlough those on AL and Fixed Term Contracts.
We have been putting measures in place to address the BAME attainment gap and have been pleased to answer the call to decolonise the curriculum in our programmes. However, these efforts are sabotaged by recent decisions to freeze the hiring of Associate Lecturers and Graduate Teaching Tutors, review the extension of fixed term contracts and the refusal to furlough any of these colleagues, whose very livelihoods are now under threat. These decisions have a detrimental impact on our attempts to rectify racialised inequities within the demographic profile of academic staff at Goldsmiths, and we are devastated at the treatment and potential loss of such an essential and valued part of the Goldsmiths community. As recently stated by GREG: ‘The recent decision to freeze the hiring of Associate Lecturers, the refusal to furlough current Associate Lecturers and the continued non-payment of casualised staff for extra hours worked will only serve to widen and entrench racialised inequities borne by the most precarious of our academic colleagues. These decisions will also adversely affect the demographic profile of academic staff at Goldsmiths, effectively undermining nascent efforts to bridge the BAME attainment gap and de-colonising the curriculum.’
In addition, we have serious concerns about the impact of such a decision on the workload and contractual terms and conditions of permanent members of staff. Already many colleagues are struggling with the additional hours and caring responsibilities that have accompanied new working conditions under Covid-19 and the move to online teaching.
As such these threatened cuts to the College’s ALs, GTTs and FTC colleagues are reckless. Not only does it devastate the staff immediately affected, but it signals both potential harm to the conditions of remaining staff and serious damage to the quality of provision we offer to students.
The longer-term implications of this generational and intersectional unfairness need to be recognised and mitigated by strong leadership at this point. Such unfairness undermines the whole idea of the university we present to our students and to future researchers.
We are calling for the:
- Immediate honouring of payments across the College for additional work done by ALs across the College
- Extension of AL/GTT/FTC contracts, and furlough to be made available to all
- Full consultation on budget decisions related to staffing based on financial transparency (eg. Senior Management salary sacrifice ring fenced for ALs)
- Assessment of redundancy impact with proper and meaningful consultation with Union representatives both at Departmental and College-wide level
- Publication and distribution of all risk assessments that have been undertaken in relation to Health and Safety, especially in relation to workplace stress
- Publication and distribution of Equalities Impact Statement
In the meantime, permanent members of staff across College may exercise the option to protect themselves against a workload risk and stress that has been identified as unacceptably high, which may impact an unanticipated marking load.
To underline this, GUCU Health and Safety and Departmental Reps have cautioned permanent colleagues about taking on any extra work at short notice, while this unacceptable risk is investigated further.
Dr Francis Gilbert
Dr Natacha Kennedy
Cristina Ros i Sole
Members of the Department of Educational Studies