With all the strikes you see in the news, it is only inevitable that yet another will pop up after enough time passes. If I was to write an article for every new strike we got, I feel I would develop the posture of a rather humanoid shrimp. Safe to say I prefer my spine in a somewhat upright position, so I shall do no such thing. Jokes aside, for this is not a comedy position despite what I might lead you to think, there is a reason I have chosen to document this particular strike. For this time it is not the bus drivers, or the trains, or the teachers, or the buses again, and do I really need to continue? This time – this time it is…students? Huh. Maybe I should take a leaf out of their book and start striking – kidding! Please don’t demote me, I do quite like my position here as you can tell.
So, the students are on strike. And this is not over the crippling caffeine addictions any good student will develop, nor any other petty issue, for this is an issue relating to something all my dear readers should hopefully be aware of, less you have lived under a rock for the past few months. Even if any of my readers have chosen a rock as their current place of residence I would not blame them, for we are living through a cost of living crisis.
The students of Manchester Uni have been feeling the effects of the crisis just as badly as some of my older readers have been, having been struggling to feed themselves, let alone pay their extortionate rent fees. The students in question have been withholding their rent fees since January, with a total of 350 students as of the 8th of March participating in the strike. Their current demands are a 30% rent reduction. Students have commented on how some of them physically cannot afford their rent due to the current cost of living crisis paired with the rent increases. Students have even commented, on a Tiktok account run by the students participating, on the poor living conditions of the university. Apparently having a freeloading roommate who steals your food is rather common, and while that might be true elsewhere I doubt few of those are of the rodent variety. Charming.
The students haven’t chosen to stop at simply withholding their rent. Instead, they have begun a more active approach to put pressure on the university by forcibly occupying three of the main buildings on campus. One anonymous activist (who, no, I did not interview) who commented on what had been done in the John Owen’s building, where the University’s senior management offices are located. To quote, “every single door and window was locked from the inside; we used filing cabinets, chairs, and tables to barricade it physically.” The occupation only lasted a week, but other occupations are still ongoing, and seem to be set to escalate as the strike continues.
For those of my readers curious on the topic there are a plethora of articles written by those much more professional than me (though lacking in the humour department), covering the topics in more detail, including more recent events. Or don’t. It does not truly impact me. All I can hope as a fourteen year old that does not nearly get outside as much as I should is for the students to achieve their goal.
Millie Butcher, still Chief Reporter, somehow, Lower Seniors.
- – https://www.tiktok.com/@uomrentstrike2023?lang=en – the tiktok account run by students participating in the strike.
- – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-65037590
- – https://tribunemag.co.uk/2023/03/the-manchester-student-rent-strike-is-solidarity-in-action – general information