Tackling Inequality and Discrimination at Goldsmiths

GUCU Position Paper on Equalities for consideration at GUCU Branch meeting 18.11.2019

  1. Maternity pay campaign

The SMT have kicked this into the long grass. We need to step up the campaign. Possible actions we could consider would include: posters around college showing how much worse our maternity leave is than other HEIs;  mass letter writing campaign to the Warden, copying in Chair of Council; protest/demo outside DTH or Warden’s office. Potential also there to approach this as a matter of gender discrimination – would need legal advice from colleagues in Law or UCU members who have pursued similar campaigns in other HEIs.

  1. Pay gap

Demand SMT explain their methodology for calculating the gender pay gap which has magically fallen from 6% to 3.7% in a matter of months. We need an explanation of this ‘drop’ and how this was calculated. We also need to demand that SMT begin to track the BAME pay gap as a matter of policy. Aside from just tracking, we should be demanding that SMT produce a policy on how they plan to tackle both the BAME and gender pay gap which we expect to see before the end of the spring term and for staff consultation on proposals. Possible actions could include posters around campus, petitions, and lobby of Council?.

We should consider that one of the most popular evasive strategies by university management around the gender and BAME pay gap is to raise the salaries of professors who fall into those groups without doing anything about the pay gap at lower grades. Currently the gender pay gap figure includes all staff above Grade 6 only. We need to know the gender and BAME – also disability, sexuality – pay gap for all staff. We might need to co-ordinate with Unison on this. Pay gap needs a coordinated campaign with all the campus unions to be successful.

  1. Promotions policy

Goldsmiths does not have a policy for ensuring that the application of criteria for promotion is applied consistently and fairly over time. There is no means of ensuring that BAME, LGBTQ+, women and disabled staff are not discriminated against in the promotions process. Criteria should not just be based on performance indicators but contribution to student and staff wellbeing should also be taken into account. The issue is transparency of criteria and their governance (who decides them, how they are applied). What is currently a serious issue is that promotions policy is being applied by HoDs in strategic ways to staff – they can use promotion as a disciplining mechanism as well as to extract more work – this is also a workload issue. Demand that the institution develop a policy which we expect to see before the end of spring term and to be put out for consultation with staff. Other actions to consider include requesting the promotion statistics from Dawn in HR and pressuring SMT to set up a working group with reps from all the campus unions (UCU, Unison, SU – IWGB if they represent the security staff as well) ASAP to look into this. It’s important to have the SU (and/or students who are not SU officers also) involved, as the working group should be open to students who are concerned with who is teaching the curriculum as well as the level of diversity amongst staff. All grade points should be part of the remit.

Further Comments

Do we have colleagues with legal expertise that could be used? We now have a law department. All three campaigns would benefit from legal advice.