Manuel Cortes, TSSA General Secretary, speaking at TSSA conference 2019 podium, close up

Meet the General Secretary

Manuel Cortes

Manuel Cortes has been TSSA (Transport Salaried Staff’s Association) General Secretary since 2011, having been re-elected in 2016. Cortes was born and raised in a working-class family in Gibraltar, leaving school without qualifications. He became an apprentice electrician, where he joined a union and gained technical qualifications. 

He went on to study at Herriot Watt University in Edinburgh, gaining a BEng in Electrical and Electronic Engineering and a Masters in Optical Electronics, and also Business Economics from the University of Strathclyde. He is also a graduate of the Harvard Trade Union Program. He worked for a union in finance before joining the staff of Amnesty International. 

In 1998 he joined TSSA. Cortes describes himself as a “proud and committed socialist” who backed Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour Leadership in 2015. One of the most high-profile and outspoken trade union general secretaries of his generation he took a strong anti-Brexit stance, consistently warning of the dangers of leaving the European Union.