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Union reps rally in Keighley town centre for a better deal for workers
Updated 3:35pm Thursday 10th July 2014 in News
TRADE union activists and Labour Party members rallied in Keighley's Town Hall Square today in support of a one-day national strike.
They gathered to voice their backing for strikes taking place across the UK – including Keighley district – as part of a series of disputes with the government over pay, pensions and cuts.
The rally was organised by Keighley Trades Union Council, and was also attended by Labour councillors.
Keighley TUC president, Steve Davison, said: "A new generation of workers will have to understand that things such as the shorter working week, pensions and the health service weren't just given to them. It was a strong Labour movement in Britain which fought for better living conditions for workers, and all of this is now under threat.
"Today is another day of resistance. The workers united would never be defeated, but achieving that is one of the hardest tasks we face.
"Our enemies will do everything they can to divide us — men against women, black against white – they'll try every trick in the book. But we're not going to fall for it."
A union representative for Bradford Council workers, who asked not to be identified, said support for the strike was strong amongst those staff whose pay and conditions had been hardest hit over the last few years.
"We want to hear something from Labour about what they are going to do for public sector workers, but all we hear of them is watered down Tory-ism," he said.
However, Labour prospective parliamentary candidate for Keighley, John Grogan, who was also at the rally, said: "If I'm lucky enough to be elected next year, as Keighley MP I would make it one of my priorities to get a living wage not just for public sector workers but for workers in the private sector too."
Many schools in and around Keighley have been affected by the day of action, as members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) were among the public sector workers taking part in the walkout.
The GMB union and UNISON, which both represent council and non-teaching school staff, and the Public and Commercial Services Union were also involved.
Nineteen schools in Keighley district have been fully closed, with a further seven partially closed.
Keighley-area schools which Bradford Council confirmed as completely closed were Beechcliffe Special School, Cullingworth Village Primary, Denholme Primary, Eastburn Junior and Infant, Harden Primary, Haworth Primary, Laycock Primary, Lees Primary, Long Lee Primary, Merlin Top Primary Academy, Nessfield Primary, Parkside School, Parkwood Primary, Phoenix Special School, St Joseph's Catholic Primary, Stanbury Village School, Steeton Primary, Wilsden Primary and Worth Valley Primary.
Local schools confirmed as partially closed were Aire View Infant School, Holycroft Primary, Keighley St Andrew's CE Primary, Oakbank School, Oakworth Primary, Strong Close Nursery School and Children's Centre and Victoria Primary.
North Yorkshire County Council reported that Cononley Community Primary School and Sutton Community Primary were both closed.