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MPs condemn union

by: Leslie Bunder - Last updated: 2007-07-24

Israel

Israel

MPs from across the political spectrum have voiced their concern over a proposed boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions by the University and Colleges Union and suggested the Union is not working in the interests of its members.

At a debate in the House of Commons, Labour, Liberal Democrats and Conservative MPs condemned the Union for its boycott motion and saidthe Union should focus its efforts on other issues.

"They have nobody to negotiate on the real issues affecting their work force, which is perhaps why their membership seems to be going down rather than up and will continue to do so if they choose to pick on the frivolities of life, such as intellectual debates, rather than the real stuff of life, such as the terms and conditions of their members," SAID Labour MP John Mann.

Liberal Democrat MP Chris Huhne added: "The boycott would be counter-productive, even in the terms of those who are pressing for it, since many of those who are most critical of Israeli Government policies are to be found in the universities, think-tanks and institutes within Israel."

While Conservative MP Tim Boswell further stated: "It is unacceptable, and if there is any doubt, academics individually and the universities collectively must be told that it is unacceptable.”

A spokesperson for the Stop The Boycott campaign which seeks to stop any type of boycott of Israel commented: "The vast majority of MPs are united in finding the proposed boycott as unacceptable in this day and age. The vast majority of UCU members are absolutely of the same mind – they want their union to go back to the bread and butter issues of getting the best deal from their employers and not picking on their colleagues from another country."