Huppert on Astra Zeneca takeover’s threat to jobs, the European elections and the living wage

Medical Drugs for Pharmacy Health Shop of MedicineJulian Huppert has been talking to Cambridge student magazine Varsity.

Not surprisingly, the subject of Pfizer’s proposed takeover of Astra Zeneca came up. Why should students be bothered?

It will have a direct impact on the prospects for people in particular disciplines, and will be a longer term issue about the future of Britain”, he replies. “This matters for students who work in STEM subjects, natscis, chem-eng, all of those subjects, because this could be their employment – even if you don’t work directly for a pharmaceutical company, the supply chains, the companies they work with, the biotechs around it, the pure research that they fund, is affected by this decision.

We need to find a way to make sure [their commitment] is absolutely binding. I would prefer to have two separate companies both wanting to be in Cambridge, because of what we offer. When these takeovers happen you almost always lose jobs [and] if you have one company as the major pharmaceutical in, lets say, Cambridge, if its leaves…then this would be a huge blow.

Next up was the European elections. Why should students vote Liberal Democrat?

The polling suggests for the East of England, for this area, that of the seven seats that are available, the seventh seat will either go to UKIP or to the Lib Dems…the key question students should think is do they want the seat to go to UKIP or would they rather have a Lib Dem? We know the problems with UKIP, some of the xenophobia that they have, some of the homophobia, all of those awful things…and their sheer negativity.

They then tackle him on one of their key campaigns, for the living wage. Julian is emphatically in favour:

I think it [the campaign] is a really good thing”, says Huppert, “it’s frustrating that there’s such slow progress, and i’ve spoken to a number of the organisations around the university and tried to push in a less confrontational way, as it were, and I think we’re getting there gradually and slowly. Clare has made some changes, it’s a great shame at Trinity, where I use to be, that the steward there, as I understand it, has decided that it’s just too expensive: yes, it costs you money but it’s better for your staff, so I think it’s something which the university ought to do.

You can read the whole interview here.

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One Comment

  • The government MUST block this take over of Astra Zeneca (AZN) by Pfizer or any other company outside the EU. They have the power to do that. The only way to ensure we keep the remaining industries and employment in this country is to make sure that stakeholders remain this country meaning that it must remain trading in the FTSE100.
    Already we see many of the energy companies with overseas owners meaning it is hard for People in this country to buy shares and attend shareholders meetings.
    Only the government can block the takeover of AZN now, the share price is overvalued for individuals to purchase just now although the price has fallen this morning.

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