As MPs prepare to vote on the hike on university tuition fees of up to £9,000, the Young Socialists Student Society called on the trade unions to step up their support for students by calling a general strike to bring down the coalition.
Young Socialists National Secretary Joshua Ogunleye told News Line yesterday: ‘It’s good that unions are supporting students and that TUC leader Brendan Barber and RMT leader Bob Crow will be addressing the UCU/NUS rally at the Embankment.
‘But protests, however big, are not enough to deal with this coalition.
‘The TUC leader Barber must call a general strike to bring Cameron and Clegg down.
‘This is what students and workers want.’
The National Union of Students (NUS) yesterday confirmed its plans for today.
These are a lobby of Parliament – 1pm-3pm, and an NUS/UCU Rally on Victoria Embankment – 1pm-3pm.
The NUS said: ‘An estimated 10,000 protesters will be gathering on Victoria Embankment to hear speeches from student representatives and representatives of all major trade unions.
‘The rally will include a “candlelit” vigil around the time of the parliamentary vote.
‘The rally is due to be joined by a protest march that will have gone through central London.’
The march has been organised by ULU London and London Region UCU.
The RMT and Unison have announced their support and yesterday the GMB decided to support the rally.
GMB National Officer for Education Rehana Azam, said: ‘There is a grave danger that higher tuition fees will lead to the country losing a generation of students at a huge cost to our economy.
‘It is this very generation that are out on the streets today and tomorrow about tuition fees and next Monday about the scrapping of the EMA.
‘Students have established the link between the cuts in support for education and the tax dodging that leads to billions of pounds in unpaid taxes.
‘As a nation we should be proud of the active stance taken by this generation of students and GMB as a union in the education sector is proud to support them. GMB is supporting the demonstrations and I will be speaking at the rally tomorrow in London.’
Meanwhile, new figures reveal that in order to survive English universities will have to charge average fees of almost £7,000-a-year to replace lost income from public spending and tuition fees.
The analysis, released by the University and College Union (UCU), makes a mockery of government claims that only in exceptional cases would universities charge more than £6,000 a year.
The union’s findings reveal that every single English institution with undergraduates would have to charge more than £6,000 a year to plug the funding gap created by huge cuts to teaching budgets.
The average fee would need to be £6,863.
Some institutions will lose all their government funding and need to charge as much as £7,700 a year just to maintain their current funding and fee levels.