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TSSA accepts Transport Minister's offer of Sexism Summit

6 May 2018

TSSA accepts the offer of Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf, to hold talks with us to demonstrate a zero tolerance practice of sexism within Scottish Transport.

Humza has made the offer following TSSA’s public criticism of the behaviour of ScotRail boss, Alex Hynes.

Mr Hynes isolated our new TSSA Scotland Organiser, Claire Johnston, at the end of her first Executive and Trades Union meeting last week and told her she would be excluded from further meetings with the company unless our General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, refrained from personal criticism of Mr Hynes in public.

“Executive and Trade Union meetings with ScotRail are high level meetings conducted between senior union officials and senior company executive. They take place to enable problems to be resolved quickly and are intended to demonstrate good and collaborative industrial practice. What happened to Claire was the opposite of good practice.

Said TSSA Head of Communications & Media, Carmel Nolan, “Isolating anyone, let alone a senior union official, reprimanding them for the words of their boss, then threatening to exclude them from future executive level meetings unless their General Secretary refrains from speaking the press is intimidating and bullying management practice.

“When that person, even if they are a union official, is a woman - actually the only woman industrial organiser in the rail unions in Scotland - then the bullying becomes sexist bullying. That this behaviour was perpetrated by the company MD is extremely alarming and indicates, at the very least, the need for sexism awareness training at board level within ScotRail.

“We are glad and, it is to his great credit, that Humza Yousaf himself immediately gets our everyday sexism problem with Mr Hynes who, in any case, simply does not have an emperor’s authority to pick or choose which union officials sit at the table with him.

“ScotRail and the Scottish Transport Industry remain a bastion of male dominance. TSSA is very proud to have female industrial organisers. We are proud that our organiser Claire Johnston is allowing her name to go into the public domain without fear and in knowledge that she has her own management’s full support on calling out this issue.

“It is a real pity Mr Hynes has demonstrated that he prefers talks with unions to remain a men’s club. This incident has shown that the all too present misogynist cultures at ScotRail go to the very top of the company.

“Humza’s concern, understanding and willingness to meet with us for a summit on sexism at ScotRail is welcome and shows why calling out everyday sexism is so important as it begins the process needed to lead to the culture changes still needed to make workplaces fairer, equal and inclusive for women.”
TSSA refutes the suggestion by Mr Hynes that General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, ever made personal remarks about Mr Hynes in public.
In a recent press release Manuel did call on him to attend talks to resolve the dispute in the CCTV section of control which will result in strike action unless the company withdraws the introduction of a compulsory night shift for all staff.

This ill-thought through demand would force some women and other parents and carers in the CCTV section to choose between their job or leaving their children unguarded and home alone at night. It was always an unreasonable ask and still needs resolving.

As the highest paid civil servant in Scotland, Mr Hynes earns £255,000. Manuel suggested he might like to start earning it, by turning up to talks and settling the dispute. Both his pay check and, his absence from negotiations, until last week are a matter of public record.

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