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Goldsmiths picket line

Goldsmiths picket line. Photo: John McGrath

UCU members at Goldsmiths University of London are back on strike to reject planned redundancies and restructuring, reports John McGrath

The staff at Goldsmiths resumed strike action on Monday and Tuesday, 7-8 February. They will continue to stand on the picket line every Monday and Tuesday through to 22 February, and they will strike Monday - Friday on the week of Monday 28 February - Friday 2 March.

The strike action follows three weeks of withheld labour at the end of 2021. Goldsmiths Senior Management Team is planning mass staff redundancies across departments this term, as part of a wider restructure to be implemented over two years. 46 job cuts have already been announced, and a “common curriculum” will be rolled out meaning students will be forced to take obligatory, credit-bearing general courses instead of classes of interest specific to a student’s choice of degree. 

The University has also hired KPMG, a multinational professional service network, to help with decision-making going forward. As Goldsmith’s’ Sociology professor Emma Goldsmith explained from the picket line Tuesday,

“The management have brought in KPMG to audit our University, and KPMG have now become embroiled in all our discussions about the future of the University. We will continue to come out and stand up for the University we think Goldsmiths should be.”

Speakers at Tuesday’s lunchtime event from the picket line included Vicky Blake, UCU’s elected president, and MPs Nadia Whittome and Clive Lewis.

Lewis lamented the Americanisation of higher education and the sidelining of students and educators in favour of consultants and financial advisors:

“Education is increasingly seen as a commodity - and you have management who are running and acting ultimately as mangers of a business organisation. That’s not what universities are! That’s not what they were when I was at university, and that’s not what they should be now. Universities are institutions for learning and creativity-for making our society a better place.”

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