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21 December 2017

Housing victory for Sussex students

Success has been achieved with regard to the Sussex university student accommodation dispute at high rent Kings Road Hall near Brighton seafront.

Tired of dilapidated, rodent-infested flats with ovens and toilets not functioning, an absence of hot water, scaffolding blocking fire exits, and concerns not being addressed, over a third of the 110 residents staged an indefinite rent strike which was supported by the Brighton Acorn renters' union.

All this in the context of the revelation that former vice-chancellor Michael Farthing was given a 230,000 leaving bonus.

However, a mere four days of action saw the university capitulate. Proposals were outlined to offer each student 515 in compensation, to pledge to complete all repairs at the site ahead of the start of the spring term in January, and to devise an improved accommodation complaints procedure in future. The union said all its demands were met in negotiations.

One Kings Road resident told the Brighton & Hove Independent: "It's a huge victory. I can't believe we've won so fast! The residents of Kings Road are thrilled that our demands have been met in full".

Acorn organiser Duncan Michie was quoted: "This deal is an impressive victory for the union. We're proud to have been able to protect our members' interests and prove that real power comes from organising and taking action".

Andy Barber, Brighton Socialist Party

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 21 December 2017 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.