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Huddersfield march for jobs
Students and young workers from Huddersfield took part in a Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ) demonstration on 21 October, protesting against planned cuts in Kirklees council services.
The specifics of the cuts have not yet been announced, and will probably stay concealed for as long as the council can manage for fear of a public backlash. The cuts will probably include at least a freeze on recruitment, if not job cuts, and the closure or privatisation of various services, including those aimed at and involving young people.
The protest began outside Huddersfield University student union and our march through town ended outside the council chamber, where the council were discussing up to £400 million in budget cuts. We were told that we were annoying some of the councillors due to our noise, the announcement of which caused a further surge in chanting and drumming.
Local councillor and Socialist Party member Jackie Grunsell reported from inside: "To the shame of all the other councillors, I was the only one to get up and speak against the devastating cuts planned. I explained the need to invest more in a recession to create decent jobs and start building council housing again, and warned of the generation of young people who will be lost to unemployment.
"Even more tellingly, when one of the cabinet members in replying to questions about the Future Jobs Fund insisted young people should 'be grateful' for a six month training scheme on the minimum wage with no guarantee of a permanent job at the end of it, he got a chorus of cheers! It is blatantly obvious that most of the politicians have no intention of standing up against the budget cuts and fighting for the defence of jobs and services."
The demo also had an effect on the student union where there has now been a discussion at its annual general meeting about the union affiliating to YFJ.
Ian Slattery, Huddersfield YFJ
Youth Fight for Jobs national London demo Saturday 28 November 12 noon from Malet Street, Euston - www.youthfightforjobs.com
In The Socialist 28 October 2009:
Youth fight for jobs
Socialist Party news and analysis
Workplace news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
Marxist analysis: history
Socialist Party reviews