Breaking Exclusive

Exclusive: Kennedy says sexual harassment report will make ‘very challenging reading’ for TSSA leaders

Peer’s report on investigation after allegations against Cortes and others will be delivered to management tomorrow – and will recommend ‘sweeping change’

Peer Helena Kennedy will deliver her report on sexual harassment within the TSSA to the union’s management tomorrow – and says it will make ‘very challenging reading’.

An email sent out by Kennedy to those who contributed to the inquiry informs them:

As you will know I have been conducting an inquiry into the institutional culture and behaviours within the TSSA. Tomorrow I will be presenting a report to the TSSA’s Executive Committee.

I have listened very carefully to all the evidence I received. My report will make very challenging reading for the leadership and I am recommending sweeping change. I want to thank you for sharing your experiences, insights and observations. It took courage.

All of you will have a part to play in ensuring that the union makes the necessary changes. The TSSA has to become a workplace that is respectful of all. It is vital that it lives up to the aspirations of the trade union movement to make our places of work supportive and healthy environments.

I shall of course be following progress in the months to come.

The inquiry was ordered after allegations of sexual harassment were made against former TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes – which he, bizarrely, denied while apologising for his behaviour, saying he could not remember the events. An attempt by the union to obtain an injunction against the publication of former staffer Claire Laycock’s allegations, on the basis that she was breaching a confidentiality agreement, failed.

Laycock and others have also made complaints about other union figures, sparking the #MeTU hashtag.

A merger of TSSA with the right-wing GMB union is currently under discussion between the two management groups. The GMB’s institutional culture of sexual harassment, misogyny and bullying was confirmed in a damning report in 2020.

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