The University and College Union (UCU) of the UK is asking international allies to join an academic boycott of Goldsmiths University of London, which is pushing ahead to eliminate 46 academic positions.
In response to the job cuts, staff at Goldsmiths went on strike last fall and the UCU launched broader strike action last month.
"Our members will not stand by whilst management threaten the academic integrity of the institution and try to make students and staff pay the price for catastrophic failures of governance,” said University and College Union regional official Barry Jones. “It is very simple for university managers to end this dispute, they need to guarantee no compulsory redundancies, save staff jobs and work with us to build a university to be proud of once again.”
Goldsmiths wants to make the cuts as part of a “recovery plan” after years of financial mismanagement have left the university with a large deficit. UCU says the “recovery plan” is a deal struck with Lloyds and Natwest banks to use redundancies to improve the university's finances.
The latest union escalation comes after university management doubled down on the job cuts and confirmed it would be using “rank and yank” tactics to decide who keeps their job and who goes. The tactics, which were widely condemned by academics during the dispute at the University of Liverpool last year, will see academics ranked against each other according to their skills, experience and achievements.
UCU is asking members, the international academic community and labour organisations to support its members at Goldsmiths by:
- refusing to speak at or organise academic or other conferences and events (with Goldsmiths or involving Goldsmiths) which do not directly contribute to core teaching duties on accredited programs;
- refusing to participate in new non-research based partnership enterprises with Goldsmiths;
- refusing to write for any academic journal which is edited at or produced by Goldsmiths;
- refusing to accept new contracts as external examiners for taught courses; and
- relocating events due to take place at Goldsmiths to other venues.