Staff and students at Goldsmiths staged a protest calling on the university to reveal the terms of a controversial loan deal with two major banks amid looming redundancies.

A total of 52 employees, 20 lecturers in the English & Creative Writing 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.

Goldsmith University and Colleges Union (GUCU) claims the redundancies have been demanded by the university’s “banking partners”, Lloyds and Natwest, as a condition for receiving a loan worth up to £7 million.

Tara Povey, Co-President of GUCU, said: “The damaging and unnecessary deal was signed in secret, meaning neither staff nor students were able to scrutinise its terms.

“It sets a very worrying precedent if we allow banks to dictate terms to universities in this way. Management’s plan for 52 job cuts is not only unfair, but is supposedly required as part of a deal whose terms are shrouded in secrecy.

“The banks and the university management need to open the books so the university community is able to judge whether or not these drastic cuts are justified. We cannot allow private banks to take over a public institution in this way.”

It is further claimed that Goldsmiths' £60 million property assets are included in the deal as collateral. 

GUCU is demanding the banks and university management “open the books” to reveal the precise terms of the deal, finalised in July 2021.

The protest was planned to coincide with a meeting between the parties. 

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.

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

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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