STRIKING workers marched through Huddersfield, demanding better pay.
More than 100 people took part in the lunchtime march from Market Place in support of the council workers’ strike.
Thousands of Kirklees staff – including refuse collectors, teaching assistants and home carers – are staging two days of industrial action against a 2.45% pay offer.
Among the marchers was Samantha Hoyle from Marsden. The 42-year-old mother-of-three cleans unoccupied council homes.
She said: “It’s not a normal cleaning job that we do. We go into the really severe places where there are hypodermic needles and excrement on the floor, but we’re paid just above the minimum wage. We should get fair pay for fair work.”
Mrs Hoyle was joined on the march by chief steward Annette Jallow, who was wearing a cat costume.
She explained: “I’m dressed as the fat cat who gets the millions while the cleaners are on £6 an hour.”
Refuse collector Andrew Thompson, from Dalton, was also on the march.
The 42-year-old father-of-one said: “We’re not getting paid enough. Luckily I don’t drive, but the bus fares just went up. It’s getting harder and harder to make ends meet.”
The marchers began from Market Place at around 12.30pm, going along New Street, High Street and Market Street before arriving for a rally at St Patrick’s Catholic Centre at Trinity Street.
Kirklees Unison chairman Nick Ruff congratulated the striking workers on the first day of the 48-hour stoppage.
He said: “I think we’re about 40-nil up at half-time but we need to hammer home our advantage”.
Kirklees Unison’s branch secretary Paul Holmes told the rally that the strike had forced managers to do frontline work.
He said: “I’ve been on the picket lines today and I’ve seen people who earn in excess of £100,000 doing jobs which are normally done by people they wouldn’t spit on.”
Mr Holmes said that 280 people had joined Kirklees Unison since the start of the month.
He added: “We’ve never had so many pickets. We’re in it to win it and I’ve no doubt that we will.”