STUDENT ACTION AGAINST THE FIRE AND REHIRE RESTRUCTURE OF GOLDSMITHS
Goldsmiths Senior Management Team (SMT) is planning mass staff redundancies across departments this term, as part of a wider scheme of redundancies to be rolled out over two years. They have informed us that they plan to cut 52 jobs this year: 20 academics in English & Creative Writing and History, and 32 professional services staff. The survival of courses in the departments of History and English and Creative Writing are in serious jeopardy, and the professional services cuts (to staff in timetabling, student support and other areas) risk causing chaos and harming student experience.
This is part of what SMT terms ‘The Recovery Plan’ to attempt to use job cuts to improve the College’s finances. Goldsmiths UCU (GUCU) argues this is a bad plan, both in terms of the financial impacts and the injustice of the proposed job cuts themselves. Senior management also claims these cuts are required by the banks due to a deal that was struck with Lloyds Bank and Natwest bank, negotiated by the consultancy firm KPMG, committing to £4million of staff cuts this year followed by £2million next year.
In response, GUCU members have voted to take 15 days of strike action, beginning November 23rd 2021 and ending December 13th 2021, in order to apply pressure on SMT to take these damaging job cuts off the table. More information on the strike can be found here.
Nothing is written in stone, yet.
Together we can fight this and together we can win!
Students have a lot of power and you should not underestimate just how much weight your voice carries. For further information on what is happening and why we need to fight this restructure, see this flyer for students.
Come along to the Friday gatherings outside the Richard Hoggart Building, 12.30-1.30pm
Get involved with Goldsmiths Students’ Union. They are fighting alongside your lecturers against this Fire and Rehire Restructure.
Get involved with other students by joining a Student-Staff Support Pod
Change your bank account: Lloyds and NatWest are the two banks who have gone into a secretive deal with Goldsmiths Senior Management. Management refuse to #OpenTheBooks and tell us the terms and conditions of this deal, but they tell us that it is the banks who are demanding these mass redundancies. If you bank with either of these banks, why not choose a more ethical bank instead? It is very easy to switch (the new bank does everything for you) and many banks offer a £100 gift for new customers. Make sure you tell your old bank, preferably publicly on social media, why you are switching.
Write an anonymous testimonial about how much you value your departmental administrative staff (rather than some anonymous ‘call centre’ administration) and your individual lecturers/tutors, who are specialists in the subject they are teaching you. A lot of the modules offered at Goldsmiths are not offered anywhere else!
Send a message to the Warden, Frances Corner (you can choose whether or not to write it anonymously), protesting these cuts and the disruption it will cause you. [Click on the link to sign the open letter and this will take you through to a page where you can leave comments].
Email the decision makers directly to complain. Frances Corner (Warden) and Dinah Caine (Chair of Council) are the main ones. Also involved are: Elisabeth Hill (Deputy Warden, responsible for Learning, Teaching, and Enhancement); Helen Watson (Chief Operating Officer); David Oswell (Pro-Warden for Research, Enterprise and Knowledge Exchange); Matthew Cragoe (Acting Head of the School of Culture and Society); Stephen Graham (Acting Head of the School of Arts and Humanities). Make sure you name the modules you are studying so that Senior Management understands just how important it is for students to have lots of choices in what they study. A personal letter from you is very hard-hitting. Do not doubt it! But, if you are struggling to know what to write, here is an example template.
Write to your MP. Diane Abbott (MP for Hackney North & Stoke Newington) has already signed the Open Letter to the Warden, but it would be great if we could get lots of other MPs to sign as well. Mention that this is a Fire and Rehire restructure and that it will mean letting the banks dictate how education is delivered in universities. Tell your MP how angry you are about what this means to the future of your studies at Goldsmiths.