Ben Bradshaw, Labour candidate for Exeter, today joined striking university staff on the Streatham picket line.
Speaking to Exeposé, Bradshaw confirmed his support for the “local members of the UCU union and the students who are supporting them in their strike.
“I’m a trade unionist myself, and I wanted to show solidarity with people who I think have a very just cause.
“I think we really have to do something about the marketisation of our higher education system, which has resulted in this action.
“The only way of doing that is by electing a Labour government. I hope that’s what we get and I’m not on the picket line. I’m out in Exeter campaigning flat out to make sure that happens.”
Other countries, like Germany, have managed to do this. There’s no reason why we can’t do it in this country.”Ben Bradshaw
The Labour candidate also spoke about his party’s manifesto promise to end university tuition fees, which in 2012 almost trebled from a maximum cap of 3,250 per year to a maximum cap of £9,000 per year.
These changes were enforced by the Conservative & Liberal Democrat coalition government.
Bradshaw said Labour would “fund the system properly to make it what it used to be, which is a public service, and a right for everybody – and with proper pay and working conditions for University staff.”
“Other countries, like Germany, have managed to do this. There’s no reason why we can’t do it in this country.”
Bradshaw later posed for a photograph with the university staff and students on the Queen’s picket.
After the photo was taken, one university staff member exclaimed “here’s to a Labour majority”, and the crowded picket cheered in response.
The UCU Industrial Action is ongoing and is currently scheduled to continue until 4 December. Follow @exeposenews for daily updates from the Streatham picket lines.
The Exeter UCU are running a hardship fund for those affected by loss of pay from industrial action. You can donate to this fund via bank transfer here.
Additional reporting: Pete Syme