Goldsmiths to cut ‘at least 52 jobs’ in plans to recover their ‘£14m deficit’, UCU says

Students and staff are protesting this decision

Goldsmiths management is planning to make redundant “32 professional services staff” and “the equivalent of 20 full-time lecturers in English and creative writing, and history”, according to Goldsmiths UCU.

Dr Jacob Mukherjee, Co-Secretary of the Goldsmiths UCU branch, said these cuts would be one of the Senior Management Team’s main solutions for the “£14 million deficit” that they are aiming to “turn into a surplus in just one year”.

On top of these job cuts, Goldsmiths is also planning to “take out a £5-7 million overdraft from the banks”, which could result in “financial institutions literally owning Goldsmiths” if the uni “defaults on this overdraft”.

Goldsmiths students, staff and UCU members have been attending protests against this decision on Fridays at 12.30pm, saying on Twitter: “We will not accept these job cuts. We will not let them happen.”

Goldsmiths UCU said: “We learnt in the redundancy “consultation launch” there will be a further three waves of “restructuring” professional services. And the scale of the savings SMT seeks means more academic job cuts are very likely.

They add: “52 jobs lost at a small institution is huge. Workload would increase, courses would close, student experience would suffer.”

Staff members at risk were sent an email warning that their current position would potentially be “deleted”, after the uni announced it would be signing an agreement to “boost employment”.

In a Goldsmiths UCU thread of interviews with Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies staff, Professor Natalie Fenton, Director of Research, has spoken out about the 32 administrative staff who will be made redundant.

She said: “Even now, we do not have enough staff to cover the key administrative functions of the Department. Not only will it weaken our research capabilities but it will greatly weaken our ability to offer pastoral care at a moment when student mental ill-health is a major concern.”

Professor James Curran adds: “Centralisation will doubtless enable savings. But Goldsmiths will pay the price in terms of deteriorating student satisfaction, with an adverse effect on recruitment.”

A spokesperson for Goldsmiths, UoL, told the Tab: “We are not able to comment on draft proposals recently shared with our trade unions as part of the legal consultation process. Nor would we as we consult with any colleagues who may be affected.

“The overall picture remains that Goldsmiths must deal with significant financial challenges including an underlying deficit, over £10 million of additional costs and lost income due to Covid-19, government cuts that will see the College lose over £2 million in funding every year, and a decline in the overall number of students studying some subjects.

“Regardless of any agreements with our banking partners we need to save £9 million in ongoing spend over the next two years to put the College back on a sustainable financial footing.

“We are building a recovery plan to respond to these challenges and will continue to take every step possible, including reducing capital costs and selling buildings which are not major teaching spaces, to reduce expenditure with redundancies always our last resort.”

Featured image credit: Goldsmiths UCU Twitter page 

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