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18th October 2023

Rent strike cancelled for this semester

Organisers of the University of Manchester’s Rent Strike group have decided to call off the October strike in favour of an alternative campaign presence until January
Rent strike cancelled for this semester
Photo: Shikhar Talwar @ The Mancunion

The University of Manchester’s Rent Strike group has announced they are not calling for a rent strike this semester.

In a post on their Instagram, the group announced that “[d]espite believing that the rent strike could’ve gone ahead, it was decided that for the safety of rent strikers and for the success of the campaign, it would be better to organise over a longer time scale to build a bigger movement for January.”

The group aims to gain more strikers and gather in greater numbers, hoping this will ensure the legal “safety” of strikers.

The Rent Strike had originally called for an immediate continuation of the Rent Strike this semester and had been organising another withholding of payment since the start of the semester.

A spokesperson for the group said that they would “continue the rent strike for as long as it takes to win our demands.”

They also intended to mobilise students at other universities to rent strike in response to similar issues nationwide.

Instead, efforts will be geared towards a renewed campaign, including a payday protest on October 20 and continued pressure on senior leadership.

The Rent Strike plans to resume in January, withholding the payment of rent on January 19. The group intend to organise a greater pushback against University-owned accommodation prices and conditions, as part of their plans for larger action.

The new academic year has brought demands from the group to:

  • Reduce the cost of all University-owned accommodation rent by a third
  • Commit to all new accommodation built as part of the Fallowfield redevelopment being affordable (under 50% of the maximum English maintenance loan)
  • Guarantee every first year student accommodation they can afford
  • All rent increases capped to the annual increase of the English maintenance loan
  • Students receive rent refunds for every day which maintenance issues are not fixed

Last year’s actions saw the occupation of university buildings in addition to rent strikes and protests, claiming over 350 students went on strike in January and that this increased to 650 students by April, although this is disputed by the University.

A University spokesperson said: “We take the views of all of our students very seriously and an important part of this is working with the elected members of the Students’ Union. Our senior management regularly meets with SU officers and they have representation on all of our most important bodies, including our Board of Governors. We will always listen when peaceful representation is made. This will never change.”  

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