Health and Safety Motion

Passed at GUCU branch meeting 21/10/20120

Motion – Safety First

This Branch notes:

– the extensive outbreaks on University campuses across the UK, including Goldsmiths,

rendering the College’s estimate, in its “institutional risk assessment” of the least likely probability of Covid-19 transmission, insufficient for the purposes of Health and Safety law. Apart from a mobile testing unit servicing residential halls, the College has not demonstrated the high-level requisite investment in suitable control measures to protect staff, students and visitors to the College, commensurate with Global Health protocols. These would have included: mass testing of the entire student population, automatic quarantining of all arrivals to campus, a target infection threshold that would trigger the closing of the campus, a reduction in campus density by timetabling Programmes in a centrally-coordinated and staggered way, the segmentation of students into study-households and a full investment in high-grade PPE, filtered ventilation and regular disinfecting aerosol cleaning equipment. That by continuing to insist on face-to-face work duties of all kinds, and the retention of students in Halls of residence, the College as a workplace and source of accommodation, continues to pose increasingly significant risk to its own population but also to the general public, living in, and using the local area.

This branch demands:

– A radical re-write of the institutional risk assessment to reflect the decisive risk that is faced by the UK population at this level in the pandemic;

– the abandonment of face-to-face work duties, as a default, with only the possibility of exceptional opt-in for activities deemed absolutely essential, until the R-rate is under control and the higher benchmark of aforementioned Global Health control measures is successfully implemented;

– the safe and managed release of students from their contracts, in residential Halls, should they wish to leave.

This branch resolves:

– To reject all extant risk assessments by the College, until work duties become remote by default, with on-site activity deemed an ‘opt-in’ to staff not at risk.