Socialist Worker

Kirklees council blinks first in cuts fight

by Nick Ruff, Unison branch chair (pc)
Issue No. 2218

The proposed ballot of 8,500 Unison union members at Kirklees Council, West Yorkshire, has been suspended as the council blinked first in the long running dispute over cuts.

Notice of action had been given to the council on Friday 27 August informing it that the ballot for strike action would commence on 9 September.

The union received correspondence from the employer asking for talks, on Wednesday of last week.

The new chief executive, Adrian Lythgoe, also released a statement in the local paper calling for meaningful talks to resolve the conflict.

Unison called on the council to withdraw all the changes to staff’s conditions imposed from 1 September by 4pm on Thursday 2 September and arrange talks and it would consider suspending the ballot.

The council agreed to take the new terms of the table and talks are due this week. Unison agreed to put the ballot on hold.

Activists are clear that it is significant that the employer has blinked so early in the dispute but that the fight against the cuts which includes the loss of 1,500 jobs by March 2011 is far from over.

The demonstration called for this Saturday is important in keeping the pressure on the Council and activists are continuing to campaign to maximise support for the demo.

Delegations have already been promised from Doncaster, Leeds and Calderdale. Furthermore the talks must be seen to offer something. If not the ballot must start immediately.

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Article information

Tue 7 Sep 2010, 17:52 BST
Issue No. 2218
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