Socialist Students campaigning at Goldsmiths university Photo: London SP
Socialist Students campaigning at Goldsmiths university Photo: London SP

Support union action and fight for free education

Berkay Kartav, London Socialist Students organiser

Goldsmiths University has announced mass redundancies which could see more than 130 staff lose their jobs. These cuts will hit departments including English and creative writing, Music, Sociology and arts, which could lead to a staffing reduction of 25% or more.

This attack on Goldsmiths staff follows the 37 days of industrial action taken by Goldsmiths University and College Union (UCU) in 2021-22 to save 46 jobs and stop cuts to courses threatened at that time.

University management says that the reason for the redundancies and cuts is a deficit in the budget as a result of lower student intake this year. But why should staff and students pay the price for the lack of university funding?

Goldsmiths University should open its books to campus trade unions and student inspection to see where the money is going. If the university cannot ‘afford’ to save jobs then it should demand the money from the Tory government, with trade union oversight of how the money is spent.

Earlier this year, hundreds of students took part in the occupation of the Stuart Hall building for five weeks in solidarity with Palestinians, an action which was supported by Goldsmiths UCU. Student and staff solidarity is crucial to fight the redundancies and further cuts to education.

Students are being treated as cash cows by university management, and now we are expected to pay for the shortfall with fewer modules to choose from and worse teaching as a result of understaffing.

In response to the announcement of mass redundancies, Goldsmiths UCU has balloted its members – 87% voted yes to industrial action and 92% voted for action short of strike. Staff have commenced a marking and assessment boycott, and there are plans to take further strike action in the summer term. Coordinated strike action with other campus trade unions, together with mass campaigns supported by students, would be vital to stop redundancies and save courses.

The latest crisis facing Goldsmiths University shows that marketised higher education is a broken system. There is enormous wealth and resources in society, but it is only a tiny minority – the capitalist class – that benefit. That’s why we say make the super-rich pay for a fully funded, high-quality, free, higher education and fight for a socialist society to democratically plan society to meet the needs of all.