Protesters on Wednesday were angry at Kirklees Labour-run council’s cuts

Over 150 people lobbied Kirklees Council in West Yorkshire on Wednesday over proposed cuts to dementia homes, leisure facilities, libraries and jobs.

The cuts are the direct result of the financial crisis facing councils across England.

The local council has a shortfall this year of £20.6 million and £47 million for 2024-25 as a direct consequence of Tory cuts. It has decided to slash jobs and services.

The lobby, the biggest in years in Kirklees, was initiated by the Unison union and the Stop the Closures campaign in North Kirklees. 

People travelled from Batley and Dewsbury to protest against the proposals to close leisure centres and two dementia homes. They wanted the Labour-run council to know that the cuts will be opposed.

A number of deputations addressed the Council and explained the impact of the cuts on their communities and families.

Helen, speaking about her husband who has dementia and is a resident at Claremont House, brought people to tears as she talked about the wonders of the council-run home which is earmarked for closure.

The crocodile tears of the councillors as they all stood to applaud her meant nothing as a council spokesperson said there was no choice but to make the cuts.

Protesters expressed their anger and called on the council to fight the Tories, not the community.

The council has issued an HR1 notice to the unions giving notice of 250 redundancies this year and a potential 750 next year.

Kirklees Active Leisure, which has run the leisure facilities for over 20 years, has issued a HR1 notice to all its 235 staff.

Unison is holding consultative ballots in the areas affected. But despite winning a 64 percent yes vote among its council members, the union has refused a council-wide industrial action ballot. It is confining ballots to those sections where the cuts are announced.

The local Unison branch has appealed to the national Industrial Action Committee against this decision.

Unison should be organising a national campaign to defend jobs and services demanding proper funding from the Tories.

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