24 June 2004
Trade Unions Mourn the Death of Pat Kelly
The Labour movement has lost one of its most dedicated and extraordinary characters with the death of Pat Kelly, Council of Trade Unions president Ross Wilson said today.
Pat Kelly, a former official of the Drivers Union, the long-time secretary of the Cleaners Union and president of the Wellington Trades Council during the days of the Federation of Labour, died this afternoon.
“Pat dedicated his working life to fighting for the rights of his fellow workers,” Ross Wilson said. “He was a real character of the trade union movement.”
Alongside his dedication to unions, Mr Kelly was also widely involved in social movements such as opposition to the war in Vietnam, the campaign against apartheid in South Africa, anti-nuclear protests and the peace movement.
Mr Kelly was in Wellington Trades Hall when his best friend and fellow union organiser, Ernie Abbot, was killed there by a bomb 20 years ago. Mr Kelly organised the funeral and led a march through the city in memorial to his friend.
Mr Kelly had been retired for some years but his daughter, Helen, is currently general secretary of the Association of University Staff and vice president of the CTU.