Politicians show support

March 10, 2006

Politicians from all parties came out in support of the need for pay rises this week, but some warned the strikes could backfire.

Gordon Marsden, Labour MP for Blackpool South, tabled a motion in Parliament supporting the unions' campaign for one third of top-up fee income to go to staff salaries. It was signed by 132 MPs.

Mr Marsden said: "Unions want their members to get the benefit from the extra money that is being injected into the system, rather than it going on vice-chancellors' carpets."

But he added: "It is important they do not undermine their case with a backlash from student groups and professional bodies."

Boris Johnson, the Tory Shadow Higher Education Minister, tabled an alternative motion this week, criticising the strike action for penalising students, but congratulating the unions "for their belated recognition that the best long-term hope for sustainable funding of higher education is some form of co-payment mechanism".

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