A play on the common adage 'To make bricks without straw', meaning to be made to carry out a task without the necessary materials.
The phrase is an allusion to the punishment ordered by Pharaoh during the Israelites' servitude in Egypt:
Pharaoh commanded the same day the taskmasters of the people ... Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, as heretofore: let them go and gather straw for themselves
Exodus 5: 6-7
It is not quite apt: the Israelites were not actually expected to make bricks without straw (an impossible task since straw was essential as a binding element); they were required to collect it, instead of having it brought to them, while at the same time keeping up the same rate of brick-production.