Remembering Ray Bellas

Ray BellasRay held a large number of roles in NALGO including Staffside Secretary and was the first Branch Secretary in the newly formed UNISON, a post he held for 2 years. He was Children’s Convenor when he left the council in 2011 but continued as an observer for UNISON on the local Pensions board.

Ray represented a large number of union members over the years in disciplinary and other hearings. Many members received pay rises due to Ray’s tireless work on job evaluation panels.

As an ‘old school’ trade unionist I was always told Reps should dress smartly when representing members at hearings. Ray had his own unique dress code and it was just a question of which rugby shirt he would be wearing. None of us will ever forget his teddy bear jumper with the moving eyes, presumably to mesmerise management during negotiations!

I never saw Ray with a bag of any kind and he would arrive at hearings and produce all the paperwork from his voluminous wax jacket before launching into his opening remarks.

Ray didn’t do things the conventional way but always had members’ best interest at heart. He would often maintain contact with them well after formal proceedings had finished and over the years I’ve met many UNISON members who spoke affectionately about Ray and the support he gave them.

As Staffside Secretary for many years Ray would scrutinise new policies and guidance to ensure that the Union didn’t miss anything. He would usually return drafts to management with characteristically robust remarks!

He was very supportive to Reps and freely gave them his time and advice. He liked to express his views in a forthright way at meetings and enjoyed winding up his colleagues but was there for us when we needed his help.

Ray was definitely a ‘one off’ and will be sadly missed by the Branch and its members. Ray suffered from a rare form of cancer and his family has asked that anyone interested make a donation to the Just Giving page which has been set up so more research can be done into this condition.

 

Julia Poynter
Families Convenor

 

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