Staff at Goldsmiths are threatening strike action after the university proposed sweeping job cuts.

A total of 52 employees, 20 lecturers in the English and History departments and 32 professional services staff, will be made redundant early next year if the New Cross university’s latest cost-cutting measures are implemented.

Goldsmiths UCU, which represents both academic and non-academic staff, is calling for senior management to “open the books” so alternative solutions can be explored, after 87 per cent of union members voted in favour of strike action.

Jacob Mukherjee, 38, Co-Secretary of Goldsmiths UCU, and Lecturer in Media, Communications and Cultural Studies, said: “There are different ways to address this.

“We have a good global reputation, we can fundraise, but management went straight to cuts.

“Where’s the plan for growth?

"These cuts will close courses in small departments, which itself can reduce income, creating a vicious cycle."

The union claims Goldsmiths entered into a multi-million pound loan deal with Lloyds TSB and Natwest on the condition that it makes deep cuts to address its deficit, which is thought to be in excess of £10 million.

The University suffered bad financial losses in the pandemic and claims Government cuts will eliminate a further £2 million in funding each year.

Goldsmiths UCU argues that it is unable to properly consult with the university over the redundancies, offering alternatives, without having access to financial records.

More than 100 professional staff members were sent letters last month informing them that their jobs were at risk.

The redundancies are expected to be announced by Christmas, with staff leaving in February 2022.

“The pervasive atmosphere is massive anxiety and stress," Mr Mukherjee added.

“The pandemic workload has been off the scale. It was more work, rather than less, and we have been dealing with stressed students by the bucket load.

“Then on top of that, we have the threat of people losing their livelihoods.

“These people are expected to be on tenterhooks until they may or may not lose their jobs. It’s the same in academic departments.

“At the busiest time of year, when we are meant to be welcoming students, people are dealing with this burden. “

Around 700 lecturers took part in a marking boycott in February after it emerged that the university was pushing through a new “recovery framework” with the aim of making £6m in savings.

A spokesperson for Goldsmiths, University of London said: “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 before we consult with any colleagues who may be affected.

“However, the overall picture remains that Goldsmiths is facing very significant financial challenges from a range of factors including an underlying deficit, the multimillion-pound impact of Covid-19 on our finances, and government cuts that will see the College lose over £2m in funding every year.

“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.”

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