In Brief

RCA union calls for vote of no confidence

London

3 July 2020

The university and college union (UCU) of London's Royal College of Art (RCA) has called for a vote of no confidence in the school's vice chancellor's office.

Writing on its website, the RCA's UCU said: “Over the last ten years conditions for staff and students at the RCA have plummeted. Institutional racism is endemic and the recommendations of the College’s own Equalities and Diversity panel are ignored.

“Pernicious inequality is also evident with regards to sexism, as evinced by the gender pay gap, hiring practices, maternity/paternity leave policies, and systemic misogyny in the workplace. These issues also have intersectional ramifications. Permanent staffing has been cut by approximately 50%, while casual staff has increased by approximately 25%. Students have to contend with a worse staff / student ratio, less space and hugely increasing fees.”

The UCU has categorised its grievances with the school into three main issues: 1) a failure to deal with institutional racism, as well as gender-based and intersectional issues of inequality and discrimination; 2) a planned hiring freeze and cuts that will see a reduced number of staff and increased workload; 3) a failure to meaningfully negotiate with the UCU head office.

The UCU's vote of no confidence in the school's vice chancellor’s office is specifically targeted at vice-Chancellor Paul Thompson, deputy vice-chancellor and provost Naren Barfield, and chief operating officer John Worne.