On 29 June 2022, all the staff at Queen Mary University of London, where I work, received an email from management. To our horror, they were threatening to withhold 100% of our pay for 21 days of both July and August, because we were participating in a marking boycott over pensions, pay, labour precarity, inequality and working conditions. Life in the higher education sector had been getting tougher ever since I started my career in 2017. But at that moment, I not only resolved to continue to strike, but redoubled my efforts to get as many colleagues as possible to join me on the picket lines. The condescension from my employers made me feel something stark and visceral.
Going on strike does mean losing your pay. That’s what the union’s strike pay fund is for.
Hmm? Your union doesn’t have one of those? Because you’ve not been paying unions dues large enough to build up a strike pay fund?