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UCU declares academic boycott of Goldsmiths over job cuts

3 June 2024

UCU today announced a global academic boycott of Goldsmiths, University of London over the institution's plans to cut jobs. Staff at Goldsmiths are already undertaking a marking boycott in a dispute over management's attempt to sack more than one in six academic staff.

With Goldsmiths and its boss Professor Frances Corner refusing to back down from these devastating plans, UCU's Higher Education Committee (HEC) has approved escalation to an academic boycott, beginning today.

This means the union is calling on members, university workers, trade unionists, and supporters worldwide not to: 

  • apply for any advertised jobs at Goldsmiths 
  • speak at or organise academic or other conferences at Goldsmiths 
  • give lectures at Goldsmiths 
  • accept positions as visiting professors or researchers at Goldsmiths 
  • accept new contracts as external examiners for taught courses at Goldsmiths.

In a letter to Professor Corner notifying her of the academic boycott, UCU urged the Goldsmiths warden 'reverse this damaging and avoidable dispute.' In its letter, the union added that 'without urgent intervention and action to withdraw the threat of compulsory redundancies, Goldsmiths will experience ongoing reputational damage.'

This is the second time in as many years that Goldsmiths has been hit with an academic boycott. In 2022, the institution was forced to back down from plans to sack up to 46 staff by industrial pressure from UCU, including a global academic boycott.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'The redundancies planned by Goldsmiths management will cause irreparable damage to the institution. It is staggering that Frances Corner is still refusing to back down from these job cuts even with our members undertaking a marking boycott and an overwhelming mandate for wider industrial action. 

'We have not taken the decision to implement an academic boycott lightly, but Goldsmiths management in their intransigence leave us with no other option. We stand prepared to escalate further, but there is still time for Frances Corner to step back from this wanton destruction of her own institution and negotiate.' 

Last updated: 5 June 2024