Dear Members,

We are writing to you in order to provide an update on negotiations regarding the professional services blueprint (PSB) restructure between the joint trade unions (UNISON and UCU) and management.

Following the closure of VSS scheme at the end of last month, UNISON has been working to understand the impact that this has on the risk of redundancy facing our members, and the implications for possible downgrading of pay.

During negotiations with management it has become clear that vacancies within the new structure currently outnumber those posts which are deemed to be ‘at risk’. Furthermore, there appears to be a reasonable correlation between posts and vacancies such that the preservation of job grade seems possible. Given these facts, UNISON has made clear (as have UCU) that a no-compulsory-redundancy guarantee is possible. We regret to inform you that management is refusing to issue such a guarantee. The grounds being cited by Goldsmiths as reasons for this refusal principally relate to arguments that some of the remaining vacancies are so specialised as to prohibit them being filled by post holders left in the ‘at risk’ pool. UNISON has not been provided with a full breakdown of these specialised posts.

Irrespective of this, we believe that Goldsmiths can and should undertake to ensure the continued employment of all affected staff, and commit to training and support for those who require it in order to meet the criteria associated with any new role. UNISON will continue to maintain this position in negotiations.

You may have read in the most recent Warden’s update that the trades unions are refusing to enter talks via ACAS without pre-conditions. It is true that UNISON is maintaining a demand that there be no compulsory redundancies – in the circumstances we believe that this is the least that our members would expect of us, and we will not enter into any discussions with the proviso that we would be willing to agree to any of our members losing their employment. Unfortunately, it is management who, in insisting on the trades unions dropping any demands, are adopting an unreasonable and inflexible position. Nevertheless, the branch is continuing to work to negotiate in the interests of our members, and we believe that continued employment for all members wishing to remain at Goldsmiths is a reasonable demand that management can accommodate.

Given the current situation, it is vitally important that affected members update the branch on their current circumstances so that we can continue to support you. In particular, please contact the branch if:

  • You have been informed/or believe that there are no posts available for you in the new structure
  • You believe that posts you could be matched to are at a lower grade than your current substantive post
  • You have any concerns about the impact of the SMQ process on your employment

Goldsmiths UNISON Branch