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Goldsmiths strike over, but more could have been won

Strikers at Goldsmiths fought hard to stop job cuts but more could have been won
Issue 2816
Hundreds of people at a strike rally outside goldsmiths college

Strikers, students and supporters rally outside Goldsmiths universities last year (Picture: Guy Smallman)

After over 30 days of strikes and a marking and assessment boycott, industrial action at Goldsmiths university has ended. University bosses have agreed to make several changes, including halting compulsory redundancies for some staff for at least three years. Workers, who are part of the UCU union, will also not receive any penalties for participating in the marking and assessment boycott. 

But despite a hard-fought battle which has led the university to make some concessions, 17 workers’ jobs are still on the line. Strikes and action may have reduced from 52 jobs at stake, but redundancies are still on the table. Strikers at Goldsmiths fought hard to stop job cuts

Not only were they fighting university bosses but banks including Lloyds Bank and Natwest, who advised Goldsmiths bosses that redundancies were necessary. Picket lines and strike rallies were large and buoyed workers to keep going. But strikers at Goldsmiths were isolated. 

Those at the top of the UCU, including Jo Grady, push for local action. But when members call local action, the response from the top is often lacklustre.  The experience at Goldsmiths has shown that a broader campaign is needed. 

University bosses everywhere are using restructuring, fire and rehire, and redundancies to keep the money flowing in. For example, at the University of Roehampton, the bosses plan to fire and rehire over 100 staff. Connected strikes and action across the university sector can stop the jobs slaughter.


Strike threats wins new pay offer from college

Workers at Hugh Baird College in Merseyside have voted to accept a new pay deal after threatening to strike. The members of the UCU union accepted a 9.3 percent pay deal last week. College bosses previously offered workers just 1 percent. The deal includes a £2,668 uplift to the starting salary of staff that are lower paid and a non-consolidated payment for all staff. 

Workers have also won three more days of annual leave a year. The deal is an improvement on the previous offer, but it’s still below inflation. Strikes could have led college management to concede a more significant inflation-busting pay rise. 

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