The University of Manchester rent strike group announced yesterday that students would be offered a 30 percent rent reduction, following increased media attention on protests against the University’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite the fact the group was originally campaigning for a rent reduction of 40 per cent, along with other terms, the final 30 percent reduction amounts to a total of £12 million, making it the largest university pay-out to students in rent strike history. Each University of Manchester student who lives in halls should receive a pay-out of £600-900.
Still can’t believe we won. 2 weeks occupation, £12 million back in students pockets ✨ pic.twitter.com/bXucExn8FQ
— Ben McGowan (@BenMcGowan_) November 25, 2020
The tower occupiers have now left the university’s premises after 14 days, but the rent strike movement has confirmed on social media that the next strike planned for January will still go ahead. Highlighting on @UoMRentStrike that, as the rent reduction is dependent on each students licensing agreement, “for the vast majority of students who moved into in September this will be equivalent to around 6 months refund”.
Owens Park Tower is officially de-occupied after today’s victory 💥@OfficialUoM this ain’t over yet though. January Rentstrike is still going ahead, today proved the strength of solidarity can overcome greed and we’ll be fighting even harder for a victory in semester 2. pic.twitter.com/mZ1PUE7h12
— UoM Rent strike (@rentstrikeUoM) November 25, 2020
There are larger implications that could come from the University of Manchester rent reduction, such as for the student-led movement Refund Now. The gradual success of the University of Manchester rent strike has encouraged other universities to start their own campaigns. Lewis Goodall, a BBC reporter who interviewed the students while in the tower, questioned on Twitter if this might lead other Vice Chancellors to follow the same direction as the University of Manchester.
The VC said that it was “a difficult interview” but the wider questions about what’s been happening to students and the service they’re paying for apply to universities across the country. Question is does MCR’s move create pressure on other Vice Chancellors to follow suit?
— Lewis Goodall (@lewis_goodall) November 25, 2020
Words: Bethan Adams | Subbing: Sara Guadrini