A University of Manchester building which has been occupied by students

University of Manchester: Students reach 100 hours of occupation in university buildings

  • Rent strikers occupy four campus buildings 
  • Demands consist of a 30% reduction on future payments to help during the cost-of-living crisis 
  • Those occupying say that “this is only the start” of the measures to be taken 

Students at the University of Manchester are striking against university rent costs amidst the cost-of-living crisis.

As part of the strike action, students have reached 100 hours of occupation in two campus buildings while also having control of four, with the university continuing – they say – to ignore their demands. 

These measures have been taken as part of a larger rent strike, which according to a source, involves roughly 350 students who are collectively withholding around £500,000 from the university.

Banner outside Samuel Alexander Building at UOM- Credit: Ciara Reynolds 

UOM Rent Strike released a statement on Instagram saying that the university have “issued an ultimatum” for those occupying the John Owens building urging them to “leave the buildings by 4pm” or face “disciplinary action.”

However, this has only sparked further action as many students attended a “solidarity pop-up gig” outside the Whitworth Hall Arch.

In an interview with a student occupier, who wanted to remain anonymous, they said “this is only the start” of the disruption “as we have sofas, sleeping bags, loads of food… we can go on forever”.

The occupier also reported that correspondence with the university has been limited, receiving “letters” and calls telling them to leave, but saying that the university is still “completely ignoring” the protests. 

“It’s just going to keep going,” he added.

“A high priority for us is the health and safety of those people who are currently occupying the buildings. A high priority for us is the health and safety of those people who are currently occupying the buildings.

“We are aware of some doors and entrances being barricaded and locked and are emphasising our concerns for their safety in the event of an emergency incident.”

statement from the University of Manchester 

The full demands being made by UOM Rent Strike are as follows:

  • 30% rent reduction on all future payments for all those UOM halls and a 30% rebate on Octobers payment 
  • Commitment from UOM that no rent will be increased for at least 3 years and that 40% of student halls be made affordable according to the NUS definition 
  • A promise from UOM to not victimise rent strikers including no disciplinary action being taken against students 

NQ has reached out to The University of Manchester for comment.