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Goldsmiths abandon plans for compulsory redundancies

UCU says collective action by its members saved ‘tens and tens of jobs’ at the London university

GOLDSMITHS has abandoned plans for compulsory redundancies after 10 months of determined resistance by lecturers.

Senior management at the London university declared 46 compulsory redundancies in a financial deal with Natwest and Lloyds Bank, but members of the University & College Union (UCU) responded with industrial action.

Lecturers boycotted marking and assessments and appealed to overseas universities to impose an academic embargo.

The dispute became more bitter when the college suspended two senior lecturers because they informed students of the potential impact of the boycott.

Management has now agreed a “no compulsory redundancies” policy.

It will also review use of fixed-term contracts under which employees do not know if they will have a job after the end of each term or academic year.

Staff who have already been made redundant will also be given enhanced payments.

The agreement has led to the UCU ending its industrial action, which it said “over 10 months saved many jobs, halting Goldsmiths senior management from doing further damage to the institution.” 

UCU London regional officer Barry Jones said: 

“Sustained collective action from UCU members has saved tens and tens of jobs, preventing Goldsmiths senior management from inflicting further damage. 

“Securing a commitment for the use of fixed term contracts to be reviewed is an important step in the local fight against casualisation.”

The union is still campaigning for the reinstatement of the two suspended academics, Professor Des Freedman and Dr Gholam Khiabany.

A Goldsmiths statement said: "The college has reached an agreement with Goldsmiths UCU that includes an immediate end to the assessment boycott.

“Under the agreement, all affected students will receive their marks with priority given to final-year and international students.”

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