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Strike ballot opens at Goldsmiths in bid to stop cull of over 130 jobs

29 February 2024

A strike ballot will open tomorrow over plans by Goldsmiths, University of London to cull 130 jobs as part of its 'transformation programme'. The ballot will run until Thursday 28 March.

Goldsmiths' transformation programme lead wrote to UCU yesterday threatening to cut 130 full-time equivalent posts. These redundancies will mainly hit the departments of theatre and performance, history, English and creative writing, visual cultures, politics and international relations, music, anthropology, sociology, educational studies, psychology and social, and therapeutic and community studies. With so many academic staff on fractional and part-time contracts, the cuts will impact far more than 130 people.

In its email, Goldsmiths says the threatened cuts are due to "a significant financial shortfall arising from lower than budgeted student recruitment for the academic year 2023-2024, the long-term decline of certain subjects and the decline in student metrics." These arguments for austerity, "to put the college on a firm footing", have been used for the last two restructuring programmes. And resulted in 37 days of strike action in the 2021/22 academic year over management's threat to sack 46 staff as part of its failed 'recovery plan'.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'Our members at Goldsmiths are balloting for strike action because they will not allow senior management to attack critical arts and humanities subjects.

'Coming so soon after management's recovery plan was supposed to fix issues at Goldsmiths, this is yet more evidence that senior managers are unable to turn things around on their own. Knee-jerk reactions that seek to make eye-watering cuts in an extremely short time frame will only further destabilise the university.

'Senior managers urgently need to work with us to increase recruitment and grow the university. If they refuse to listen to staff and instead try to force through these brutal cuts they are opening the door to severe disruption.'

Last updated: 29 February 2024