Love - stalwart NUPE and UNISON activist
Stalwart NUPE and UNISON activist Ina Love died on 5 October.
She was 76 and had been ill for some time. Here we print part
of a tribute by BOB THOMSON.
Wilhelmina McKechnie was born in Blackhill. Her first main
job was as a telephonist at Springburn Police Station. Unsurprisingly,
she met policeman Jimmy Love; they were married in 1954.
Jim, Christine and Susan were born before the young family
emigrated to Canada in 1960. Unfortunately Ina and the children
returned to Scotland in 1963 without Jimmy.
Ina had to bring up the family on her own. It was even tougher
times for single mothers in those days. She obtained a job
as a telephonist at Stobhill Hospital, gained rapid promotion
and was head telephonist for over twenty-five years.
Ina had an anger about the inequalities and injustices she
saw first hand in the Health Service. She joined NUPE, and
became a steward in 1968. In 1976 Ina became the first chairperson
of NUPE's Scottish Divisional Council.
In 1979 she became the Scotland & Northern Ireland Women's
Representative on the National Executive Council. In 1988/89
Ina was President of NUPE, which she served with distinction.
Ina was for many years the chairwoman of NUPE's Standing Orders
Committee, a job that required more than its fair share of
tact and patience.
However, Ina was not always straight-laced at meetings. There
was a member of the Executive who was always disrupting and
At one meeting Rodney Bickerstaffe read out a letter of apology
from this member stating a virus had attacked him. Rodney
asked if they should send best wishes. Ina exclaimed - sotto
voce - "Aye - tae the virus!"
Ina was an early and consistent campaigner for equal rights
and equal pay for women. This was displayed in her work in
the STUC Women's Committee, of which she was a past-Chairwoman
and a much-loved mentor to many leading women trade unionists
in Scotland today.
As a trade unionist, Ina understood that major advances could
not be made just at the workplace, but required political
action. She joined the Labour Party in the early '70s and
remained a member until she died.
She served on the Executive of the Scottish Labour Party
for over ten years, where she fearlessly argued for NUPE/UNISON
policy, especially the National Minimum Wage. Ina was not
a narrow-minded nationalist.
She understood the need for international solidarity. In
particular, she was an early advocate of the Palestinian cause.
She visited refugee camps and was a long-time member of the
Labour Middle East Council. As Susan and Christine know, their
mother gave regularly and generously to many charities and
However, the Labour movement is not all work and no play.
Ina could be the life & soul of the party. She was no mean
singer, with her favourites San Francisco and I Did It My
Executive Councils, TUC General Council, British Delegate,
etc - all important and prestigious positions in which Ina
served well. However, I can tell you from my own experience
that Ina was never pretentious and never forgot her causes
and her roots.
Up till she retired she was still dealing with the day-to-day
queries and complaints of members. Ordinary but important
to them, one of the reasons why they were in a trade union.
Within NUPE/UNISON, the TUC and the Labour Party Ina argued
long and hard for a National Minimum Wage. Of course, it should
be higher, but the principle has been established.
That we have achieved this is a testimony to her and the
many other trade unionists that campaigned for it.
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