MeTU statement as new evidence emerges on the lack of reform in the trade union movement

The MeTU campaign, formed to stamp out sexual violence, harassment and bullying in the trade union movement, has had to put out another statement this morning about ongoing further abuse in both the TSSA and GMB unions. You can find the statement here, and we’re reproduced it in full below. Please read it – it shows the appalling truth that not only has nothing changed in either union since the Monaghan and Kennedy reports, it’s actually getting worse.

MeTU are beginning another major campaign for justice over the abuses detailed below – you can help straight away by doing the following:

1) Retweet meTU’s tweet about this to get their statement out as widely as possible.
2) Share this email as widely as you can too.
3) Contact meTU at to find out about upcoming actions.
4) Make sure you read the open letter on behalf of TSSA staff as they go into dispute.

MeTU statement in full

(updated 01.02.24)

TSSA; staff in dispute and women’s group derecognised by the new administration

MeTU are horrified to see that following the Kennedy Inquiry and Conley Report (Feb 23) on the extreme abuse, sexual harassment, bullying, and corruption in TSSA trade union, which led to the dismissal of the former General Secretary, Manuel Cortes and most of the senior leadership, staff and members are now facing new abuse.

Following an election, gerrymandered by an EC who were close to the old regime, the union workforce has been forced to declare a dispute with the new General Secretary barely 3 months in. They cite a continuing culture of intimidation and bullying and corner cutting and cronyism with hire and fire appointments without consultation or scrutiny. 

On top of this, the TSSA Self Organised women’s group – Women in Focus – who helped uncover the rot and bring about the reports leading to the change – yet were never invited to take part in the change process – have been summarily ‘de-recognised’ by the EC and new General Secretary on a flimsy pretext. 

A near-secret meeting of a new ‘self-organised group’ or rather an EC-organised women’s group was barely attended and populated mainly by the President, an EC member and former EC members.  Some of whom are close to the former disgraced General Secretary, Manuel Cortes.

The EC has voted to dismiss the independent whistle-blowing organisation, Howlett Brown – against the recommendation of Baroness Helena Kennedy. Staff have been told that they can instead take grievances and complaints to the President of the TSSA. 

We fully support TSSA staff in their dispute and are glad they now have the courage to contest undemocratic and bullying practices. This may be the first time union staff have gone into dispute following the exposure of structural sexual abuse and bullying to demand it’s genuine implementation. Solidarity.

GMB; new scandal following the Monaghan Inquiry

However, it is important to say that they are represented against their corrupt employer by another union, the GMB, who claim to be reformed when they are not. While we publish the body of the letter we cannot in conscience publish the names of the full time organisers who are themselves part of the problem. There are women being bullied out as we write.

The conclusion of the Monaghan report was that the GMB is institutionally sexist and therefore is an unsafe environment for women. We can see no evidence that the GMB has acted on the work done by KC Karon Monaghan during the investigation into their practices and has disbanded the task force that was set up to implement the 27 recommendations which were made. 

Now a second report by McColgan which came about following the KC’s investigation into the behaviour of GMB officials at one of Brighton’s bin depots, details the perpetration of shocking abuse and threats of physical violence against women, the discovery of a ‘cache of weapons’, and further reports of the homophobic bullying of staff. The report also describes GMB Reps “Publicly saying that women managers ‘don’t have a fucking clue. They’re female. They don’t know what they’re doing’ and describing a woman manager as ‘a fucking bitch pulling the strings’ “

The GMB response was defensive and thuggish and referred to the 70 plus whistleblower testimonies given to a KC Barrister as ‘anonymous and unsupported statements’. This claim was roundly challenged by council Chief Executive, Will Tuckley, who pointed out that ‘“Some of those who spoke to the report did so anonymously for fear of potential retaliation.” 

Furthermore it was suggested that ‘evidence’ would be required before the GMB would be willing to take any action, suggesting that the brave individuals who took part in the investigation had not already supplied evidence beyond reasonable doubt that terrible abuse had occurred in their workplace. Women across all layers of the union have been and continue to be damaged purposefully. 

Yesterday we saw a press ‘leaked’ letter sent by the current GMB General Secretary to their central executive council warning of a coup and a return to the bad old days. GMB sisters say that while there may have been piecemeal change in some areas, most of this assertion of change is mythical, with the reality that under the current leadership, things are much worse. 

The message here is clear, in certain elements of these unions misogyny is rife and they have demonstrated that they are determined to continue with the damaging and abusive behaviour which led to all of these  investigations. They are happy to allow one corrupt administration to inform the actions of the next and they continue to collectively gaslight us through their actions. 

Our campaign against those who seek to do harm is very far from over. We will not allow our movement to destroy itself because some men and their many enablers refuse to stop abusing us as women. We will continue to find, expose and remove from the trade union and labour movement, perpetrators of bullying, misogyny, sexism, racism, transphobia, homophobia and ableism to ensure our movement is truly inclusive. 

We will continue to tell the truth and stand up for ourselves and each other at any cost. The world has changed and we are winning.

Our movement needs to be fit for purpose, with true democracy and not the current structure of power hoarding we see.

To perpetrators and misogynists throughout our movement, stop, and stop now, or be exposed.

Open Letter from TSSA GMB Reps on behalf of TSSA staff