Goldsmiths UCU Letter of Solidarity with UEL UCU, Staff and Students

Passed unanimously at GUCU Branch Meeting Monday 16 November

Members of Goldsmiths UCU (GUCU) branch wish to express our full solidarity with the University of East London (UEL) UCU branch, staff and students. We stand in opposition to the threatened compulsory redundancies of 10 members of staff by UEL’s senior management.

GUCU condemns, in the strongest possible terms, UEL senior management’s deplorable victimization of UCU officers and activists, four of whom are facing compulsory redundancy, including the branch chair and vice chair. 

We further condemn UEL senior management’s unfair sacking of staff whose ethnic minority heritage, sex and age should be protected from discrimination. Targeting staff in this way is not acceptable.

UEL senior management is using the pandemic as an excuse to shed staff unnecessarily and attack union activists and staff with protected characteristics under the law. UEL has recruited very well this year and has met its financial targets, thereby making the excuse of student numbers untenable as a reason for these redundancies. 

These compulsory redundancies are particularly abhorrent coming in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic – a time of great uncertainty and collective grief for everyone. UEL senior management’s decision to force redundancy on staff is these circumstances is cruel and objectionable.

These sackings also demonstrate a disregard for the needs of UEL students, who largely come from black and ethnic minority heritage backgrounds, are local students, many of whom are first in their family to go to university, and  students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds – and now, students from boroughs hit hard by Covid-19, especially Newham, Hackney and Tower Hamlets. UEL’s students, already facing difficulties, now not only have fewer numbers of overstretched staff to teach and support them but also fewer staff of ethnic minority backgrounds. 

GUCU demands that senior management and the governing bodies of UEL reverse this unjust course of action and immediately withdraw the threat of compulsory redundancies.

GUCU pledges our support to all staff at UEL who are facing compulsory redundancy; we support your struggle to ensure these redundancies are revoked and we send solidarity and love from your sister branch. 

Please consider adding your name to this open letter to the governing bodies of UEL: