Standing up to the “council dictators”

THERE WAS standing room only at a magnificent 120-strong public meeting to protest at the suspension of Glenn Kelly by local council bosses.

Bill Mullins, Socialist Party industrial organiser

The meeting was called after Glenn, the secretary of Bromley UNISON and a Socialist Party activist, was suspended by the council for campaigning to save the Night Care service for the elderly living in the council’s sheltered accomodation.

UNISON members, residents of the sheltered accommodation homes and their relatives along with members the public were outraged to hear of the council’s threat to withdrawof their night care staff from sheltered accommodation.

Kathy Smith, UNISON branch chairperson introduced Jeff Nellis to the audience, a resident who has been made an honoury UNISON member for all the work he has done in the campaign.

Jeff was a north Yorkshire sheep farmer who contracted organo-phosphate disease and was invalided into one of the homes. Jeff energetically expressed his anger at the “dictators of the council”.

“Somebody’s going to die”, said Jeff, who then hastily explained he meant the elderly who depend on the service and not one of the councillors.

93-year-old Winnie Evans spoke for many when she calmly explained how she was absolutely dependent on the service.

Glenn himself spoke passionately about how the “attack on myself was an attack on everybody who wants to protect decent public services”.

Glenn recalled that seven years previously the council had sacked the previous branch secretary on a trumped-up charge. This was the third occasion they had tried to do the same to him.

Lewisham Socialist Party councillor Ian Page told the meeting that similar battles to defend services were happening throughout London and beyond.

Kathy Smith, in a final appeal to the 60-70 UNISON members present appealed for them to take strike action if the council started disciplinary action against Glenn.

The branch is organising a mass lobby of Glenn’s investigation hearing between 1pm-2pm on Tuesday 22 August at the Civic Centre, Stockwell close, Bromley. There will also be a lobby of the council review of night care at a meeting on 11 September at the same venue.

All London Socialist Party members are asked to turn out as a matter of urgency.

  • Send letters/faxes of protest to Jeremy Ambache, Director of Social Services and Housing, Bromley Council, Civic Centre, Bromley BR1 3UH. Fax 020 8313 4620.
  • Solidarity messages to Bromley UNISON, Civic Centre, Bromley. Tel: 020 8313 4405 or fax 020 8313 4885.