Rent strikers will not back down until demands are met
- Students will continue rent striking, despite the bailiff removal of the Simon building.
- A recent student union referendum shows that 97% of students at the University of Manchester are in favour of the rent strikes.
- The University of Manchester have shared a message online to address the concerns of those struggling with rent, however rent strike demands have not been met.
After the bailiff removal of occupants last week, the university has responded in an online message to the rent strikers.
A possession order has been put in place. The university can reuse Bailiff procedures immediately if additional occupation takes place.
Spokesperson for the rent strikes, in Fallowfield, Hasan Patel, told NQ: “we’re not going anywhere and we are going to continue demonstrating to shame the university how they have acted so far, and now we have the majority support as seen in the referendum”
Rent strike plans to come
Hasan said: “11,200 people voted for a student referendum. 97% of students voted in favour of the rent strikes which is one of the biggest turns out in history. The NUS reported that one in ten students across the country have had to access a foodbank. It’s just a disgrace and the problem is just getting worse”
Importantly, the NUS, a union for students state: “The 2.8% increase in the maintenance loan for 2023/24 is woefully inadequate and will leave students over £1,500 worse off than they would have been if student support was tied to inflation.”
Hasan said: “the university sees us as individual consumers, rather than a collective of students. Their stance is not to directly speak with rent strikers because it legitimises them.”
He said: accommodation rates have gone up by 100%. But inflation has only reached 40% across the UK, it just shows how the university is profiteering. They make similar amounts to the biggest brands in the city, like Manchester United and Manchester City. It just shows how much money and power they have.”
The University’s Response to rent strikes
Patrick Hackett, Registrar, Secretary and Chief Operating Officer for the University of Manchester, has acknowledged the referendum. He has outlined the university’s steps to overcome the issues in the referendum, through an online message.
He wrote: “Students have been offered a £170 payment, (and part-time students £85). This is over 40,000 people. Alongside this, students who are in financial difficulties can apply for up to £2000.”
Patrick wrote: “we don’t make a profit from the rent we charge. Rental income goes towards our operating costs. Including the hundreds of staff we have working in residences; rapidly rising energy costs; and maintenance and new facilities.”
The message also outlined that the university provides free warm spaces, free meals and reductions in on-campus food.