Defending jobs

UCU dispute: build the next stages

With terms drawing to a close in mid-December, university campuses are becoming much quieter places, and will remain so until early-mid January. Whilst taking much-needed respite following the end of a busy term and kicking off industrial action, University and College Union (UCU) activists and supporters now have ideal opportunities to build our actions into next term. There are five clear things activists should focus on: recruiting to the union; mobilising members to take part in “action short of a strike” (ASOS) and join next term’s pickets; getting more branches out; building solidarity...

Tube: unite all grades to fight the cuts

Abridged from the Tubeworker blog The ballot of members in Transport for London (TfL) and London Underground (LU) being run by rail union RMT between 13 December and 10 January is on action against cuts to any grade’s jobs and conditions and to all our pensions. It is not just about six hundred station jobs at threat. Those are just the first slice in a long series of cuts. TfL management have finally shown their hand — or, more accurately, the first of many hands they intend to deal — over cuts to improve their finances after lockdown. Don’t think that grades other than station staff, first...

Goldsmiths sets plans for January

With one week remaining of the three weeks of strike at Goldsmiths University of London (23 November to 13 December), the local branch of the University and College Union (UCU) is planning an escalation of its dispute against management’s threatened 52 job cuts, part of an extensive “fire and rehire” plan, alongside radical restructuring at the college which will see further cuts. Already the branch has requested the national union apply an academic boycott on Goldsmiths. The national union will back up the local dispute by asking for a range of actions which might include asking external...

Goldsmiths union calls for boycott to back strike

A week into three weeks of strike action at Goldsmiths University of London (23 November to 13 December), the local branch of the University and College Union (UCU) is now looking at ways to escalate and diversify the dispute. For example, the branch plans to request the national union applies an academic boycott on Goldsmiths. If agreed, the national union will back up the local dispute, now that it is facing management intransigence, by asking for external academics to avoid contact with the university in a smaller or larger range of ways. That could include: not speaking and lecturing at...

Goldsmiths out for three weeks

Three weeks of strike action began at Goldsmiths University of London on Tuesday 23 November with picketing, a strike rally and the start of an extensive teach-out programme. The first day of action was the culmination of weeks of preparation, and the product of a determination to beat redundancies and damaging restructuring at the college. The day before the strike, Goldsmiths Warden (top manager) Frances Corner issued a disingenuous message (one of many) urging University and College Union (UCU) members to call off their strike, claiming that she is listening, and implying UCU are being...

Building organisation at Barnoldswick

Workers at the Rolls Royce site in Barnoldswick have voted to accept a new offer from the company in their dispute over staffing at the site. Ross Quinn, a Unite officer involved in the dispute, spoke to Solidarity. The key concession in the settlement is the extension of the no-compulsory-redundancies guarantee to five years. That’s a three-year extension on what was on the table previously. The deal also includes an agreement for a company furlough scheme for up to 70 workers, which is a kind of baseline insurance policy if work streams dry up in future. But that’s not something either party...

Goldsmiths sets 21 days

In a ballot on industrial action against threats of (an initial) 52 redundancies at the college, 70.2% of Goldsmiths UCU members have voted. 93.3% voted for action short of a strike and 85.8% voted to strike. At a branch meeting on Monday 8 November, members voted for 21 days of consecutive strike action starting on 22 November. The huge mandate for action came in the face of increasingly desperate attempts at intimidation by the Senior Management. A letter from the Warden to all students highlighting supposed concern for student welfare and promised the college will continue to be a “beacon...

Barnoldswick workers to vote

Workers at the Rolls Royce plant in Barnoldswick, Lancashire, will vote on a new settlement that includes a five-year no compulsory redundancies guarantee, and a commitment to 10 years’ viable manufacturing at the plant. The settlement emerges from lengthy negotiations, following renewed strikes by engineers at the plant in July and August, and a subsequent vote by the rest of the plant’s workforce to take further action. Strikes in 2020 appeared to have won guarantees to protect jobs, but the dispute resumed in spring 2021 when Rolls Royce bosses announced they were reneging on commitments...

Goldsmiths fights the cuts

As it runs a ballot (closing 4 November) for industrial action over job cuts, the University and College Union (UCU) at Goldsmiths university in London is gathering wider support. An Open Letter to Frances Corner (the top manager at Goldsmiths), signed by over 3,000 alumni, academics, local community and other supporters of the UCU, including novelists, artists and so on, was covered by the Observer on 24 October. The letter highlights the fact that the cuts in Professional Services and to English and History are only the first round. Goldsmiths has a number of groundbreaking areas of...

Diary of a trackworker: Talk in my depot is varied

There is a refreshing normalcy about redundancies being offered. They are always show up around the time that bad news will make people think twice about why they are working. Talk in my depot is varied. There is a certain older age group who think that now they’ve done their time, it would be nice to leave with a little something extra; while at the younger end, demoralisation with a job that has changed dramatically, even in their relatively short experience, makes them think about a change of career. This time is slightly different in that the redundancy process has started with managerial...

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