Sheffield strikes back, occupy tallest university building in the UK

Sheffield Strikes Back, a newly formed broad left group of Sheffield students, have occupied the Arts Tower – the tallest university building in the United Kingdom.

Submitted by working class … on December 3, 2013

The group, which includes activists from Sheffield Autonomous Students, Revolutionary Socialists Society, Labour Students, Socialist Students and the Living Wage campaign, walked into the lecture hall at about 7:30pm and have now claimed a major lecture theatre and the building foyer.

Sheffield Strikes Back has released a statement regarding their decision to occupy the building, which is the second tallest in the city. It reads:

“Once again, as students of the University of Sheffield we have gone in to occupation in solidarity with those on strike. Our umbrella group, Sheffield Strikes Back, contains members from a variety of organisations – Revolutionary Socialists Society, Sheffield Autonomous Students, Labour Students, the Living Wage Campaign as well as many non-aligned student activists from a wide range of political viewpoints. However, we are unified in our opposition to the mistreatment of University staff by management, both locally and nationally. Our occupation will further disrupt the running of the University on a day when we believe no staff and no students should be crossing a picket line. We invite anyone who agrees to join us in support.”

In their statement, the student activists also distanced their tactics from those of the striking trade unions. Although the occupation is in solidarity and support with striking staff, the occupiers have emphasised that it is not condoned by any trade unions.

Their statement ends:

“Solidarity with striking staff, solidarity with those in occupation! Never cross a picket line!”

Students have negotiated with security guards and decided that only three guards will be allowed into the building at any one time.

The police arrived at the building earlier this evening, but have since left after speaking with the head of university security.

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