It is with deep regret and sadness that we have learned on Wednesday that colleague and friend Kim McLachlan, former branch secretary Housing & Care branch, has passed away. Kim retired last year.
Kim had nearly forty years membership and activism in NALGO and UNISON through her work in various housing services. She was a graduate of the Glasgow Housing Stewards’ Committee, a rough-tough environment where her sharp wit was often a suitable riposte to the West of Scotland machismo.
Kim was totally dedicated to the union and her members.
Following a tradition of colourful branch banners, Kim launched the new branch banner a year or so back. Branch Secretary Paul Stuart says, “The banner was a source of immense pride for Kim, I feel that she in some way felt that it brought the branch to a new level in the same way the banners of other older branches tell the stories of the members they represent. I remember her saying it will be part of her legacy and that long after she was gone it would be here; it is just sad that this is now happening so soon after she retired. She never took up my offer to be our retired members’ officer and with the role the branch mandate to take the banner to all retired member functions; her reason for declining was ‘I’m too young ya cheeky [lengthy list of expletives] you’ ”
Kim had been at the heart of the trade union and community campaign to oppose the Glasgow Housing Stock Transfer a number of years back. Then viewed as a back-door privatisation. That campaign was lost narrowly in a tenants’ ballot, and on Friday 5 April 2002, a decision was made to transfer Glasgow’s entire council housing stock of 81,000 homes out of public ownership and into the hands of the specially-created ‘social’ landlord Glasgow Housing Association Limited. The trade union followed its members and Kim was a leading member of the new branch until she retired.
Kim was a much respected colleague who worked at GHA and Wheatley Group. Throughout her 37 years’ service, she held a number of roles including clerical assistant, housing officer, customer service and performance co-ordinator and then a trainer in the Academy over at Granite House when it was first launched. In every one of her posts, Kim brought a unique blend of energy, professionalism and compassion for others.
Wheatley Group Chief Executive Martin Armstrong said, “Latterly Kim was, of course, Branch Secretary for Unison and it was during her time in this role that I came to know and admire Kim. A committed trade unionist with a warm nature, quick wit and an unstinting devotion to do the right thing for people, she was a true pleasure to work with.”
Martin added, “Kim was Unison Branch Secretary for much of the period in which we worked closely with staff as we developed and built Wheatley into the outstanding, forward-thinking organisation it is today. There is no doubt Kim made a significant contribution to that journey and her part in shaping Wheatley Group’s success is part of the legacy she leaves. But it is as a great friend to colleagues of all ages, right across our organisation, that she will be remembered most. We are all shocked and saddened by the news of her death and many of our staff have shared with me their personal memories of Kim today. What comes across is the high regard in which she was held by all as a trusted confidante, adviser and a great pal.”
Our thoughts are with her family, particularly her brothers and nephews who she was very close to.