Short Course Tutor Legal Action Motion

Please show your support by raising this motion in your union branch.

This branch notes:

  1. In December 2020, Short Course Tutors at Goldsmiths were sent a new ‘Agreement of Service’ document from the university to sign prior to the beginning of the 2021 term. In essence the Agreement of Service commits Short Course Tutors to forfeit all worker and employment rights and take on all financial and other risks associated with their teaching. 
  2. Beginning in the summer of 2020, the university summarily cancelled a number of Short Courses, with no explanation or notice given to Short Course Tutors. 
  3. The university has told Short Course Tutors and Goldsmiths UCU representatives that they would not respond to the union because “for the purposes of short course provision, the College engages with [short course teachers] as independent contractors and not as employees.” The university has repeatedly ignored requests by GUCU officers to address the working conditions of Short Course Tutors.
  4. Goldsmiths Short Course Tutors have instructed a solicitor from Leigh Day (the law firm which successfully worked with Uber drivers on their case) to bring Goldsmiths to an employment tribunal to gain worker status recognition. 

This branch believes: 

  1. That the current treatment of Short Course Tutors at Goldsmiths constitutes an attempt to eradicate the rights of workers and represents the next stage of casualisation in the education sector. 
  2. We must challenge the legality of non-contracted work in our workplaces to avoid the normalisation of such practices across the whole sector.
  3. Legal challenges to gig economy working conditions have successfully overturned draconian employment legislation.   

This branch resolves:

  1. To donate to the Goldsmiths Short Course Tutor’s legal fund
  2. To monitor similar developments at our own university and share information with a view to seeing how the Goldsmiths legal action on Short Course Tutors could benefit casualised staff with similar working conditions.
  3. To push UCU national to litigate on behalf of those non-contracted workers in the sector legally entitled to worker or employment status.
  4. To promote the Goldsmiths Short Course Tutor’s campaign on social media and within our own networks. See goldsctutors and GoldsmithsUCU on Twitter.