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From The Socialist newspaper, 17 November 2010

Kirklees - fighting 400 million budget cut

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)

After months of delays and deliberation by the leadership of Unison both locally and regionally, Kirklees Unison has voted to ballot for strike action against cuts and redundancies.

A Unison member

Alongside the redundancies are plans to cut redundancy pay, to redesign all positions with related reductions in salary and to limit the time available on redeployment for employees whose roles are downgraded or abolished.

Outrageously, the council has continued to insist that sickness absence will be used when considering who should be made redundant and who should be retained; with no clarity whatsoever about how this would be applied. Kirklees staff are often too scared to be off sick, knowing that this could well be used against them in the future.

An extremely vocal meeting on 11 November of over 100 Unison members led to an enthusiastic endorsement of the need to strike. Socialist Party members spoke in the discussion and questioned why the union continues to donate massive sums of members' money to the Labour Party when this Labour council is attacking union members. This was met with rapturous applause.

However, Socialist Party members are entirely realistic about the difficult battles ahead. The council has managed to delay industrial action with various empty undertakings and broken promises.

Briefings have been held with workers during which management has drip fed a mantra of there being 'no alternative' to the cuts, said that frontline staff will be protected and that the union is exaggerating the scale of the cuts. Morale amongst council employees has weakened, with many workers feeling that the union has been too reluctant to fight and to stand up for members' rights and interests.

The Socialist Party will continue to support the strike committee and to convene workplace meetings. We will also hold campaigning stalls to engage with members of the public and to argue the case for industrial action.

A strong 'Yes' vote with a strong turnout will send a clear message to the Labour council and to the Con-Dem government that their determination to bury public services will be resisted and ultimately defeated.

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In The Socialist 17 November 2010:


Socialist Party youth and students

Fight for your future!

Massive student demo shows anti-cuts anger

24 November - Strike against fees and cuts

Defend student protesters!

10 November demonstration: Students fighting back


War and occupation

Afghanistan: Withdraw the troops now!


Socialist Party workplace news

Kirklees - fighting 400 million budget cut

Protests and meetings against the cuts

Victory in law centre battle

Jobs threat in Knowsley

Ballot cancelled in BA dispute

National Shop Stewards Network: Anti-cuts conference

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party news and analysis

Universal Credit - a thinly veiled attack on the sick and unemployed

Coalition turns back the clock on justice

Tories promote fast food nation

Fast news


Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition launches its campaign for the 2011 local elections


International socialist news and analysis

Ireland: 'Not simply a crisis but an absolute disaster'

Ireland: United Left Alliance to challenge at next general election

Support the Laura Ashley strikers


Socialist Party review

Britain's trillion pound horror story


 

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