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  • Afzal Khan: UoM should ‘get around table’ and negotiate with striking staff

Afzal Khan: UoM should ‘get around table’ and negotiate with striking staff

Labour’s candidate for Manchester Gorton has said the University should “get around the table” and negotiate with striking lecturers who “deserve a decent pension”. 

In an interview with The Mancunion, Afzal Khan, who was elected MP for Manchester Gorton in 2017, said he supported the striking academic staff and joined them on the picket lines to show solidarity.

“It’s always hard for teachers and professors to go on strike because they’re committed to education [and] they’ve chosen this career because they love this career,” he said. 

“My message to the University establishment is: they should get around the table and have a discussion and give [staff] good conditions so they have job satisfaction.” 

Khan warned that staff could leave as a result of the fallout over pay and pensions, saying the University could lose talented teachers and professors. 

When asked about Khan’s comments regarding staff strikes, a University spokesperson said industrial action was always “deeply regrettable” and added their highest priority was to ensure students were not disadvantaged.  

“While we fully recognise the rights of staff members to take industrial action, our priority must be to minimise any impact on our students.”

Khan also sat down with Manchester SU Women’s Officer Ayla Huseyinoglu

“At the heart of Brexit is, do you want to be an inward-looking country or outward-looking country? As a young person who wants to explore the world, do you want restrictions or do you want the freedom to move around in 28 counties to start with?” 

During the interview, Khan said he believed the prime minister had cynically chosen the December 12th election date to limit the student vote. 

He told The Mancunion: “I think it has been calculated on his part, but that doesn’t mean he’ll get away with it, I think [students] are intelligent and clever and they understand.” 

He added that Boris Johnson wasn’t championing votes at 16 like the Labour Party because the Conservatives didn’t want young people to have a say. 

When quizzed on student safety in areas like Fallowfield, which falls within his constituency, he said student safety was a “real issue” and largely blamed police cuts for the problem. 

“Over the last 10 years, we have seen cumulative cuts in all areas, it’s totally been finished,” he said. 

“Everyone deserves to have safety around them and young people are the ones who are more likely to experience the crime and therefore we should be working with them and looking at the different aspects [of] safety we can provide to make sure they feel comfortable and [can] go about enjoying their life.” 

Mr Khan said he thought Brexit ranked highly on the list of student concerns and that young people could see their future being “taken away and limited”. 

“If [students and young people] can see the climate danger, you can guarantee they can also see the danger of Brexit. 

“At the heart of Brexit is, do you want to be an inward-looking country or outward-looking country? As a young person who wants to explore the world, do you want restrictions or do you want the freedom to move around in 28 counties to start with?” 

Manchester Gorton is a strong Labour seat and in 2017, Khan won with a majority of 31,730. 

 

Tags: afzal khan, brexit, general election 2019, strikes, ucu strike, University of Manchester

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