I’ve said it many times before, but it’s worth repeating – nobody goes on strike on a whim. Nobody takes industrial action without a great deal of thought. Nobody loses pay and takes on their employers without good cause.
That’s certainly the case for our higher education members who are currently balloting for industrial action.
These are the people who deliver the student experience that makes up such a large part of the offer universities make to prospective students. Those same universities are competing in a global market – with many being ranked as some of the best in the world.
Their pay has stagnated for seven years now, leaving them thousands of pounds a year worse off in real terms. These are sums of money that really add up, and put hard-pressed public sector workers under increasing strain.
Yet the offer that employers have put forward merely follows the trend of low level pay offers elsewhere and will increase the squeeze on workers’ household budgets. The offer this year was a derisory 1.1%.
We may have a different prime minister but staff working in Higher Education face the same declining pay, the same tough working conditions and the same attacks on the sector that they faced under the previous prime minister.
I hope that HE members will vote to take industrial action. Not because it is an easy decision, but because it is time for the sector to fight back on behalf of staff, underfunded institutions and the students they serve.