Analysis Breaking Exclusive

Exclusive: TSSA management withheld earlier sex and race report from elected officials

Conley report submitted to union months ago says union stuck in the 80s

Earlier this month, Baroness Kennedy published a damning report on sexual harassment in the TSSA union, following a whistleblower’s allegations against senior figures and the #MeTU movement that followed, that has led to a string of resignations and suspensions among the union’s top staff, including the union’s general secretary – who was supposed to have ‘retired’ following the allegations last year but was found by Kennedy to still be on the payroll.

But Skwawkbox can reveal that an earlier, similarly damning, report on equality practices in the union – written by Professor Hazel Conley and Professor Stefano Gasparria of the University of the West of England, was withheld by the union’s management from the elected TSSA executive, according to an email circulated to TSSA staff today.

The email reads:

The EC has asked on numerous occasions for progress reports and whether the final report was available. Until the publication of the Kennedy Report, the EC and TSSA staff had been told that TSSA had not received the report. Following the publication of the Kennedy Report, and upon further investigation, it was revealed that the report had in fact been delivered to TSSA in September 2022.

The EC took immediate steps to secure the report and is publishing it in full and sharing directly with TSSA staff, branches and SOGs. The EC accepts the report and its recommendations.

There is significant correlation between the Conley report and the Kennedy report. The EC is committed to implementing in full the recommendations. Further updates will be shared on the progress of this work.

The report, now available on the TSSA website, examines the policies of the union and the extent to which it fulfils them. It concludes that:

the examples we have been given, particularly by staff that we interviewed, reflected a negative face of the TSSA that breaks all of these policies and its Rule Book equality objectives on a regular basis, particularly in relation to the expectation that the union will act as a model employer. The staff interviews corroborated many of the findings of the GMB survey in relation to sexual harassment. Interestingly, in relation to interviews with members, women members were far more critical of the union than male members…

The picture we have been given is of a union that is trying but failing to break free of a white, male-dominated culture that, as an employer, does not support women or other equality groups, largely because of a failure in the leadership of the union to ‘practice what it preaches’, a phrase that we heard numerous times when collecting the interview data.

Emphases added

The report’s conclusions on racial discrimination are also damning. Read the full document here.

This is not the first item that the union’s management appear to have hidden from elected member representatives. At least two merger approaches from the RMT rail union were kept hidden, while TSSA management pursued mergers with first a right-wing US union and then the right-run GMB union in the UK.

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