The management of Ruskin College, Oxford, is effectively closing the only department left in the UK that teaches labour studies. In particular the entire staff of the International Trade Union and Labour Studies (ILTUS) course is being made redundant. Like many other activists in the Labour movement, the editor of this site is a past student of the ILTUS course.
Ruskin College was founded in the 19th century to provide higher education to working class people, who would not otherwise have the chance to go to university. Over the years it has not only educated many UK trade unionists and workers, it also has a proud tradition of welcoming as students, activists and trade unionists from around the world including many from the global South.
In recent years, like so many institutions of higher education globally, it has focused more and more on the 'economic' returns of education and recently shocked labour historians when its management destroyed its unique archive of international labour history. Now the process is being completed by the destruction of the only course left in the country to teach labour and trade union studies.
As the letter signed by hundreds of activists and academics puts it:
In the context of the rise in precarious forms of work, further legislative attacks on trade unions, and attacks on higher education more broadly, it is imperative that we have a labour movement that can preserve and learn from our history and develop informed strategy on how to counter this onslaught. Ruskin College has a unique and integral role in doing this.
Please follow the action guidelines below to add your support to the campaign to save this important work for future generations.