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From The Socialist newspaper, 15 September 2010

Mood of defiance in Huddersfield

Kirklees Save Our services trade union protest against cuts , photo Huddersfield Socialist Party

Kirklees Save Our services trade union protest against cuts , photo Huddersfield Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

OVER 300 angry, defiant marchers took to the streets of Huddersfield in a joint trade union demo against cuts and job losses on 11 September. Unison, Unite, NUT and trades council members were joined by rank and file Unison members who sent the Labour council a message, loud and clear, that we mean business.

Mike Forster

Spirits on this noisy, enthusiastic demo were high and hundreds of shoppers applauded us, so we took the march around the town centre for a second time. Many people joined in for this 'lap of honour'.

Just as significant was the support from young people. Over 50 protesters marched with the Youth Fight for Jobs contingent after active campaigning outside all the local colleges. More young people joined in as we passed through the town. The meeting after the demo attracted 30 young people.

Jackie Grunsell addresses Kirklees Save Our services trade union protest against cuts, photo Huddersfield Socialist Party

Jackie Grunsell addresses Kirklees Save Our services trade union protest against cuts, photo Huddersfield Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

Unfortunately little mention was made of the looming industrial action since the Unison officialdom postponed the strike ballot at the eleventh hour. The council had agreed to postpone some, but not all, of their proposals for cuts and to enter into 'meaningful talks'. That was enough for regional officials to agree to postpone the ballot.

Negotiations begin on 15 September. Pressure from below has clearly forced a change of heart on the council's part. However, activists in the branch believe the ballot should have still gone ahead but were not given any opportunity to have a say.

Unfortunately the branch leadership agreed with the postponement, but the unions' chief stewards voted to condemn the postponement and to demand the ballot's reinstatement.

Kirklees Save Our services trade union protest against cuts, photo Huddersfield Socialist Party

Kirklees Save Our services trade union protest against cuts, photo Huddersfield Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

This dispute will be crucial to the future of any organised opposition to these vicious cuts. The demo showed that ordinary members will respond to a call to action where a clear lead is given.

Postponement must give heart to those in the TUC who believe we should wait before we act. Jobs, services and conditions are under attack now and we cannot afford to wait any longer.

The next few weeks will show whether this council is serious about talks or just trying to buy time. A strong fighting strike committee in the Unison branch is playing a critical role in giving a lead to members in the dispute. Over 30 workplace meetings have taken place which also helped build for the demo.

We are all clear that more demonstrations and ultimately strike action is going to be necessary - but this demo was first blood to the workers!

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In The Socialist 15 September 2010:

Join the fight against cuts

Socialist Party editorial

Decisive action can defeat this government

TUC congress

TUC backs youth jobs demo

TUC told to name the day

TUC: Build for action against cuts

Socialist Party youth and students

Stop the 'slippery slope' to two-tier education

How will the Browne Review into university funding affect you?

Student strikes can win results

Feature: Socialist Party women

Women and the struggle against oppression

Socialist Party news and analysis

Royal Mail: Con-Demned to history?

Privatisation's giant wrecking ball

Fight the jobs cuts massacre

Middlesborough local union-led public services alliance set up

Fast news

General strike in France

Osborne targets the needy

Labour councillors challenged in Hastings

Shropshire: showing socialist alternative gets results

Socialist Party workplace news

London Underground: Action biting against job cuts

UCU executive pulls out of strike ballot

Fight for jobs at GSK

Workplace news in brief

Anti-cuts campaign

Mood of defiance in Huddersfield

Hull park rangers protest

How do we vote to stop the cuts?

Nottinghamshire: Campaign saves vital service

Lobbies warn councils of workers' action

Socialism 2010

Socialism 2010: How can we save the environment?

International socialist news and analysis

All-India general strike: Eyewitness report from Chennai

Fighting oppression in Kazakhstan

Socialist Party review

The Third Man


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