Goldsmiths launch 3-week strike

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University College Union members on the picket line at Goldsmiths College yesterday morning

LECTURERS and staff took on Goldsmiths College higher management yesterday launching a bold and powerful three week strike against redundancies and the axing of whole departments.

Jacob Mukagee, from Goldsmsiths University College Union (UCU) explained to News Line: ‘We are at the start of a three week strike over a threat of redundancies to 52 workers, which include administrators and academics in English, Creative Writing and History.

‘We are angry. These redundancies have been demanded by banks, Lloyds and Nat West, in return for some loans they made to the university’s senior management.

‘We are not happy about banks dictating terms to a public institution, demanding that their profits override the university’s ability to deliver a curriculum. Financial institutions should have no role in how education is run, quite frankly!’

With other universities coming out on strike all over Britain, and many lecturers demanding their union, UCU, calls on the Trades Union Congress to call a general strike, he continued: ‘I would be very much in favour of a General Strike.

‘Academics have seen such a radical attack on our pay and conditions, our pensions, our workload has massively increased, casualisation – the use of temporary and insecure contracts – in the sector is off the scale.

‘The second most casualised industry after hospitality is higher education. People imagine university lecturers are well paid, but some people here on the picket line are on £2,000 or £3,000 a year, paid for ten weeks.

‘The rest of the time we must find some other work, like I’ve done for seven years. So most of my colleagues favour kicking out private corporations from higher education and giving more control to workers and students.’

Paul Railton, technical advisor in Photography at Goldsmiths, supporting the strike, said: ‘I used to be a Labour Party member but no longer. They are completely inadequate, they are sitting back and letting the Tories do what they want, and getting away with it.

‘It’s the worst Labour Party I have ever seen in my lifetime and I’m 41 so it’s disgusting.

‘I think national action needs to be taken. The leaders of all the unions need to get together and actually work together to bring about change, because we are not going to do it individually. It’s time to work together and bring this government down.’