Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/181/7976
Victory for Glenn Kelly: Bromley's embarrassing climbdown
GLENN KELLY, secretary of Bromley UNISON, has won a resounding victory against Bromley council bosses. In a humiliating climbdown they have imposed only the lightest of sentences for his alleged 'crimes'.
Despite suspending him for five weeks, carrying out a 12-week investigation and 24 hours of a disciplinary hearing, a first written warning was all they felt confident to issue.
Having caused such a public outcry, the warning to Glenn was the least they could do without completely losing face.
Senior management's action made the council look complete fools. Clearly the council were trying to victimise Glenn merely for effectively representing his members and defending the services they provide.
Suppose the case had gone to an employment tribunal. How could the council defend disciplining Glenn for meeting tenants of the sheltered homes they were trying to close? This was at the tenants' request to hear the union's views about management's plans for the service.
Management claimed their pilot scheme to remove night-care staff was a 'success' at Norton Court, one of their five sheltered homes. Management expected the council to vote to remove night-care staff from all five homes; instead UNISON's campaign forced management to put night staff back into Norton Court.
One Norton Court worker said that on her first day back she found an elderly woman lying bleeding and incontinent with fear, who couldn't reach her alarm cord which was out of reach. Luckily the worker was now on site but what was happening over the months without night staff? What would this woman have done had the union not waged its campaign?
Glenn exposed the council's actions so senior managers and councillors wanted to sack him as a warning to the whole workforce. They haven't been able to do this because UNISON branch activists and Socialist Party members got behind Glenn.
Socialist Party members pride themselves on coming to the aid of any worker being victimised by the bosses but we make even greater efforts to defend one of our own!
Together with tenants and their relatives, union activists and socialists publicly demonstrated their opposition to the council on lobbies and other activities organised by the UNISON branch.
Dozens of workplaces were visited. Stalls were organised in every high street in the borough. Campaigners went into offices, spoke directly to workers at their desks and won a victory for all Bromley's workers.
In The Socialist 10 November 2000: