BREAKING: Lancaster University rent strike has been cancelled
‘This was not an easy decision to make and we have not made it lightly’
The Lancaster University Rent Strike group has officially announced the cancellation of its strike action against university management over its handling of student accomodation worries during the ongoing pandemic.
The rent strike began at the beginning of January, and at its peak had over 1,300 strikers committed to withholding their rental payments in order to receive a rebate, or waiver of rent, depending on whether the student had returned to university accomodation during the national lockdown.
In a statement released today, Lancaster University Rent Strike said: “It is with great sadness that we must inform you that, as of today, the Lancaster University Rent Strike is over. This was not an easy decision to make and we have not made it lightly.”
The statement explained that initially the strike was backed by around 1,300 students, but following the university’s offers of two £400 “goodwill” payments to striking students, its numbers had dwindled to around 400 students – a cut in support by nearly 70 per cent. The statement continued: “While we understand why those off campus have chosen to take the new £800 offer, and cannot blame them for doing so, we are bitterly disappointed that more did not hold out to help secure reductions for the vulnerable students stuck on campus.
“University Management may have been successful once again in their cynical attempts to split the strike, but we cannot forget that students have now twice strong-armed the university into massive rent reductions through our collective action.
“In the coming days, a petition will be launched on the LUSU website calling for a referendum on the SU declaring no confidence in University Management. The Rent Strike organisers urge each and every one of you to sign this petition and vote in the resulting referendum.”
LUSU President Oliver Robinson told The Tab Lancaster: “I’m sad to see that the rent strike has ended, but delighted that we were able to work together to get so much for students. £3m back in rent for over 2,000 tenants, and a better mental health system for all students is something to be proud of. I’m proud of the work that my team – Atree and Amy in particular – has contributed to this, but the organisers deserve praise in far more eloquent terms than I can muster. Their efforts have been quite simply herculean. Students have shown that, through collective action, we can do a lot for one another.”
Lancaster University Rent Strike’s full statement can be found here.