Goldsmiths UCU General Meeting minutes, 22 February 2012

1 UCU General Secretary Election Hustings with Mark Campbell, London Met. UCU, UCU NEC and Candidate for UCU General Secretary (MC)
MC highlighted the difference between his stance and that of the other candidate.

–         Recognizing that the government is attacking the fundamentals of public education
–         Recognizing that there has been success in other anti-cuts and anti-privatisation campaigns, and that UCU could and should be achieving similar success

MC noted that although the White Paper has been shelved, the situation at London Met. has shown that cuts, privatization and aggressive reorganization are still taking place, and will continue to take place.

MC noted that, while UCU was taking action against USS reforms and building for the Nov30 strike, membership increased and the union’s profile was enhanced.

NOTE: GUCU’s motion to show solidarity with the staff of London Met. and to condemn the actions of its management, passed unanimously at the GM in January

MC went on to respond to worries about his representing a Socialist Worker Party contingent within UCU by promising to uphold union democracy and not to weaken or shrink the NEC.

Please note that both General Secretary candidates’ manifestos are available online at

Sally Hunt has apologised for not being able to attend any hustings, and
asks members to send any questions they have for her to

Voting ends 1st March at 12 noon.

2 Update on Pensions dispute from Des Freedman (DF)

DF reminded members that last month’s sector conference ended with action ‘suspended.’ (More info here)

DF stressed importance of supporting the TPS campaign, both to show solidarity and to defend USS, as the two pension schemes are now strongly linked.

3. Update on HR from John Wadsworth (JW)

JW informed members that at the present time there is no director of HR, and that we are due to have a new director by the end of the month.

GUCU are still waiting for resolutions on the following issues:

– Equality audits
– VTs being put on pay framework
– Redundancy policy
– Pay protection

4. Conference for Early Years Academics

LE informed members of a planned conference, to take place on April 14th, for VTs and post-grads. This will partly be an academic conference on research practise and partly a trade unionist conference on VT rights.

5. Motion on National Student Survey

DF’s motion on NSS was temporarily withdrawn due to low attendance at the GM. DF acknowledged the need for discussion on this.

Jamie W. noted that the Goldsmiths Student Union are supporting a boycott of NSS and wanting to implement a new model of student feedback.

6. Cuts to PACE department

TH informed the branch of planned restructuring of the PACE department. Management proposals are likely to affect both VTs and established staff, and threaten at least 5 course programs. Redundancies are also planned. There will be union consultation.

JW expressed concern for PACE staff and students, and worries that this may be a taste of things to come in other departments.

The exec will hold an emergency meeting on this as soon as possible.

7. AOB

a) Departmental Reps. (notice to members)

The dept. rep for computing has stood down, and the acting dept. rep for psychology will be away from mid-March onward. There are also still vacancies for reps in Anthropology, Design, History, Media & Communications, Marketing Recruitment & Communications and Music. We need to establish points of contact for any of these departments, for distributing posters and other union information. Please contact the administrator if you wish to volunteer.

b) NUS walk out and week of action (notice to members)

Monday 12th – Friday 16th March: A week of action will take place on campuses across the country to demonstrate to VCs and principals that high fees, hidden course costs and a lack of bursaries are pricing students out of education, that postgraduate students need a better deal, and that students will not stand by and let the coalition government press ahead with its destructive plans to sell off and privatise our universities and colleges.

In the middle of the week of action – on Wednesday 14th March – a national walkout will take place. Students will boycott lectures and instead get involved in local on campus activities to demonstrate their opposition to the coalition government’s plans to destroy our higher education system.

c) Anti-Casualisation Committee

Jamie W. is not eligible to be a full delegate on the anti-casualisation committee; anyone else wishing to attend please contact the administrator.