Imagine watching the sun set over the countryside with a cold cider in your hand or feeling the hot sand squeeze between your toes as you walk along a beach. It’s almost time to take a break, but have you tried booking a summer holiday yet?

A UK caravan holiday can cost you well over £1,000 for a week. Staying in a cottage can be double that. A trip abroad can be a little more affordable at present but it’s not just the cost of getting away that is putting increasing pressure on household finances.

£100 to fill a car with diesel. Milk up 50p in the local Co-op. Energy costs through the roof. Everyone, it seems, is putting their prices up to try and maintain a decent standard of living. So why can’t our wages at least keep pace with rising inflation?

It’s not like this is the first time that University support staff have been offered a below inflation wage rise – therefore in effect a pay cut – now, is it? The 3% (more for some pay points, keeping them within the legal minimums) offer from the University and College Employers Association just isn’t enough, so your union is asking for a not unreasonable rate of RPI plus 2% – that would amount to a raise of around 11%.

When you consider that year on year our wages have deprecated, it comes to a point where you need to take a stand and say enough is enough. A worker on pay point 7 – £18,529 a year – would be £3,602 better off if pay had kept up with inflation since 2009.

In comparison, the wages of MPs have gone UP £18,411 in that same time. Funny that. They’ll tell you that times are hard. They’ll tell you that there’s no money to give a pay increase. The truth is they’re not that hard if you’re a banker getting a million-pound bonus. They’re not that hard if you’re getting massive returns as a landlord or shareholder or holiday-home owner.

Times are hard for us because the Government not only want to keep our wages down but they want us to pay more in the shops, more on bills, increased National Insurance, higher taxes, more VAT. And the cost of that summer holiday that you’ve been looking forward to? Forget about it.

Stand together and vote YES in the ballot on Higher Education Pay when it opens on the 22nd July. We’re worth more. We can’t afford less.