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From The Socialist newspaper, 2 December 2020

Rent strikers' victory in Manchester student halls

Visiting the Manchester Student occupation. photo: Manchester and Salford SP

Visiting the Manchester Student occupation. photo: Manchester and Salford SP   (Click to enlarge)

Maddy Steeds, Manchester and Salford Socialist Party

Students at the University of Manchester have successfully won a 30% refund of their rent for the term following 14 days of action. The students began occupying the halls of residence on the 12 November, with the demand of a 40% reduction in rent. Fifteen students were involved in the occupation, and received an outpouring of support from other students and the workers' movement.

The occupation followed multiple protests of students after the university management erected barriers around the student halls. The anger towards the university management was further increased after a halls resident was stopped by security in an incident of racial profiling.

The University of Manchester initially offered a reduction of 20% in rent for the rest of the semester, but the students held firm on their demand for more. The 30% reduction agreed upon by the management represents a pay-out of between £600-900 per resident, which the university says will cost £4 million. We celebrate the students' victory in winning their rent reduction and demand that the £4 million must not come from further cuts to lecturers and support staff.

Since the start of the pandemic, universities feared that loss of fees income, particularly from high fee-paying international students that could delay attendance. The University of Manchester, with a high proportion of international students, reacted to this by asking staff to enter into voluntary redundancy. Further to this, research budgets have been cut, and money to publish work in journals and at conferences has been reduced.

Confidence grows

Despite the successful protests this semester, as it stands, the 30% refund only applied to first semester rents. Students will go back to paying huge amounts that most maintenance loans do not cover. More rent strikes are planned for next term, and are developing at other universities. The Manchester victory will give confidence to thousands of others.

We call for a reduction in rents of student accommodation permanently, and for rent caps to be decided by elected democratic committees involving students. Students should get a genuine living grant. Socialist Students argues that rent should be capped at 25% of this. All of this needs to be linked to the demands for staff and student safety, and for free education for all.

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In The Socialist 2 December 2020:


What we think

Spending Review. Unions must resist return to austerity


Spending Review

What will the spending review mean for me?

Napo kickstarts fight against pay freeze


News

Better for billionaires. Worse for workers

Arcadia and Debenhams closures: Nationalise to save jobs and pensions

Scotland: Campaign wins end to period poverty

NHS: Underfunded, understaffed, underpaid

News in brief


Devolution

Where is devolution heading?


Workplace News

Don't let the festive season be one of misery for retail workers

Equity union conference calls for radical change - now lead a fight!

Solidarity with Brighton UCU strike - we won't pay for Covid crisis

East London teachers strike in support of victimised union rep

Heathrow workers strike against 'fire and rehire' plans

Hackney: Stop plan to halve school support staff!

Pay freeze protest Homerton Hospital

Unison general secretary ballot closes


Environment

'Building back greener' - yet more Tory greenwash


International News

Conflict in Ethiopia: ethnic-linguistic divisions are the historical product of capitalist inequality


Marxism

Review: Friedrich Engels - Condition of the working class in England


Campaigns

Socialism 2020 feedback

Wales TUSC plans to mount an electoral challenge

Rent strikers' victory in Manchester student halls

Labour meeting lets MP get away with 'Spycops' abstention

Selling the Socialist

Fighting fund target smashed!


Reader's opinion

TV: The Social Dilemma

Fast fashion, big profits, low pay

Diego Maradona - Working-class rebel, football genius

Socialist Inbox


 

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Related links:

Manchester:

triangleJobcentre Coronavirus outbreak leads to reps meeting call

triangleManchester and Salford Socialist Party: COP26 - A socialist response

triangleManchester & Salford Socialist Party: The Grenfell disaster

triangleManchester death rate caused by deprivation

triangleGo Ahead offers deal to Manchester bus drivers

Student:

triangleThis is students' chance to fight back - help build 2 March NUS walkout

triangleSouthampton uni ignores staff and students in exam farce

triangleNUS walkout: Organise to fight for free education on 2 March

triangleSouthampton student vote for online exams must be accepted

Students:

triangleSocialist Students conference

triangleUniversities strike - build the action and stand united to win

triangleUni staff and students must unite to end marketisation and for free education

University:

triangleUni support staff strike ballot

triangleStaff and students unite against university bosses' attacks

Universities:

triangleUniversities: Strike action at 68 in two disputes

Occupation:

triangleThe 1971 Upper Clyde Shipbuilders occupation and work-in

Rents:

triangleTories concede under cladding pressure but don't go far enough

Socialist Students:

triangleStop the cuts to Uni arts funding

Accommodation:

triangleFighting evictions in Cornwall

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