MCSS Support our Casualised Colleagues [still collecting signatures here]
We the undersigned staff in the Media, Communications and Cultural Studies Department recognise that our colleagues on AL, GTT, and FTC (fixed term contracts) bring immense knowledge, experience and professional expertise, and diversity to the Department. They are a critical component of course delivery, and the Department 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 are devastated at the treatment and potential loss of such an essential and valued part of the Goldsmiths community. We are devastated by what this means for the youngest generation of researchers and artists, who in the middle of pandemic will find it very hard to secure work elsewhere, and for whom the future is highly precarious.
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 in this Department. 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 is 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 will 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 for additional work done by ALs across the College
- The freeze on AL contracts to be rescinded and for an extension of AL/GTT/FTC contracts
- Full consultation on budget decisions related to staffing based on financial transparency (eg. a Senior Management salary sacrifice ring- fenced for ALs)
- An assessment of redundancy impact with proper and meaningful consultation with Union representatives both at Departmental and College-wide level
- The publication and distribution of all risk assessments that have been undertaken in relation to Health and Safety, especially in relation to workplace stress
- The publication and distribution of an Equalities Impact Statement with regard to the redundancies of casualised staff.
In the meantime, permanent members of staff in the Department 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 we investigate this unacceptable risk further.