Socialist Worker

A crucial fight in Kirklees council

by Nick Ruff, branch chair, Kirklees Unison (pc)
Issue No. 2233

A crucial fight against job losses is taking place in Kirklees, West Yorkshire. It could see the first strike against council cuts by a whole union branch since the Tories took office.

The Labour-led council issued 1,100 HR1 redundancy notices in May last year. They recently followed this with threats to a further 1,500 jobs.

In a ballot of over 7,000 Unison union members, 53 percent agreed to back a five-day strike in response.

Town hall bosses greeted news of the ballot result by calling for immediate talks.

After the vote, which saw a 36 percent turnout, 51 shop stewards met to consider their next move. They unanimously requested their union sanction the proposed strike.

Unison’s Yorkshire and Humberside region says it will support the strike call.

As Socialist Worker went to press the union was awaiting a new offer from the ­employers. Should they meet all the union’s demands, it will rightly be seen as a victory for fighting and balloting for strikes.

That will certainly lead to an increase in the confidence of council workers facing the threat of job losses and the destruction of services in the months ahead.

If the bosses refuse to make an acceptable offer, the union is likely to start a five-day strike on 17 January—the latest possible date for the action to remain legal.

Every trade unionist should be organising for messages of support and donations to the strike fund.

Kirklees Unison members should be invited to speak at as many union meetings as possible.

Send messages of support and requests for speakers to Kirklees Unison, Union House, 20 Queen St, Huddersfield HD1 2SP

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