There are many good, strong reasons to strike. Here are six of them.
1. We have reasonable demands
It is reasonable to want secure jobs, so that we can do our jobs to the best of our ability and avoid the devastating uncertainty and stress of not knowing where your income will come from or being able to plan ahead. It is reasonable to expect pension rights to be restored, when we know that the scheme is stable and healthy. It is reasonable to expect to not have pay disparities that are down solely to ethnicity, disability or gender. It is reasonable to not want pay to slip further during the cost-of-living crisis. It is reasonable to not be expected to put up with excessive workloads. The employers are unreasonable, not us.
2. They are taking advantage of us
The employers do not have to what they do. They did not have to –by cheering on USS – help fabricate a pensions scheme crisis. They do not have to pay women less. They do not have to pay Black staff less. They do not have to underpay and overwork us. But they do.
3. We can care for each other
By striking, we support each other, and strengthen the university community. Striking is an act of care. By striking, we also support each other as a national union collective. If we stand together, we can protect each other. If we don’t, we are letting each other down.
4. We’re not just doing it for ourselves
We are trying to help ourselves. But our action can also bolster that of nurses, teachers, posties and railway workers. Many of the problems we face are the same, and have the same root causes.
And the problems we face will not go away unless we do something about it. So we are also helping future workers. And this includes our students.
If we don’t take action, we let everyone down.
5. We have dignity
There is no guarantee of winning. But we can’t let them walk all over us. If we don’t fight back, something valuable in and among us withers and dies.
6. We can win
Strikes in the HE sector can work. In 2018, we won a battle in the pensions dispute. And this time, we are united as never before nationally.
And there is a more general mood of anger and resistance across society, during the cost of living crisis, with the members of many unions going into dispute over pay and conditions. The range of disputes across society reinforce each other. Together, they are sending a signal that Enough is Enough.
It is not easy to strike, but if we stand together and strong, we can do this. If not, that is when we lose. The strike is what we make it.